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Cubs Vs. Astros Preview: Samardzija, Wandy Duel In Game 2

The disappointing 2012 season for the Chicago Cubs has reached its current nadir: the Cubs enter Wednesday night's game having lost eight games in a row and now own the worst record in baseball. What's worse is that the last four losses have come at the hands of their crosstown rival (the Chicago White Sox) and a team in the Houston Astros that most expected to be far and away the worst in baseball.

But that expectation has been much truer of the Cubs this season, and with the team looking to avoid loss number nine, Dale Sveum will turn to Jeff Samardzija, who has been just about the best starting pitcher on the team this season. The converted reliever enters Wednesday night's game with an ERA of 3.00 and a WHIP of 1.16. He's also struck out more than a batter an inning, with 53 Ks in 51 innings pitched.

The bad news (or worse news) for the Cubs is that the Astros are countering with Wandy Rodriguez, the longtime ace of their staff. Rodriguez has been predictably stellar this year, posting an ERA of 2.24. The Cubs have not faced Rodriguez yet this season, but the Astros starter has a career ERA of 3.99 in 19 starts vs. Chicago.

Game date/time: Wednesday, May 23, 7:05 p.m. CT

Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Tex.

TV: WGN

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage, head over to Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue. For more from around Major League Baseball, visit Baseball Nation.