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Cubs' personal "playoff" series

It doesn’t look like much, but to the Cubs there’s a lot to play for these final three games against the 106-loss Houston Astros.

Sweep the Astros in a series that opens tonight at 7:05, and the Cubs avoid the third 100-loss season in franchise history, first since 1966.

“I think for the guys out there [tonight], it could be like our little playoff atmosphere, to stay away from that number,” manager Dale Sveum said.

The Cubs snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating winning in Arizona Sunday.

They send starting pitchers Jason Berken (0-2, 5.14), Chris Volstad (3-11, 6.64) and Travis Wood (6-13, 4.39) to the mound in search of the sweep.

The Cubs have four sweeps this year, including one against the Astros at Wrigley Field June 29-July 1. The other sweeps: vs. San Diego (May 28-30, vs. Arizona (July 13-15), and at Pittsburgh (Sept. 7-9).

“We can only get there if we win [tonight]. I think there’ll be a little enthusiasm in the dugout to try to take care of business [tonight] and then obviously try to win the last two.

“It’ll be fun. As much fun as we can have in this season to try to avoid it anyway.”