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07/10/10 9:59 PM ET

Marmol has Silva's back in first-half finale

Carlos Marmol has received four save opportunities in the past month.

That hasn't stopped him from striking out hitters at a prolific rate.

The Cubs' closer has amassed 78 punchouts through 41 2/3 innings of work this season, good for the most strikeouts among Major League relievers.

Marmol could add to that sparkling total on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium, where the Cubs and Dodgers will lock horns in the final game before the All-Star break.

Chicago right-hander Carlos Silva, who has collected a team-leading nine victories and 13 quality starts, is expected to make the start despite discomfort in his right calf.

Rookie right-hander Mitch Atkins, a 24-year-old owner of three career Major League appearances totaling 3 1/3 innings, would likely start in Silva's place if the veteran is kept out.

No matter his counterpart, Vicente Padilla will toe the rubber for the Dodgers. The 32-year-old veteran has reeled off three consecutive sharp outings. In each of his starts dating back to June 25, Padilla has pitched into the seventh inning and yielded two or fewer runs.

"All I know is this guy knows how to pitch," Los Angeles pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. "This guy can pitch with his fastball because he can make it sink, run it back to lefties and ride it up."

Padilla also makes batters earn their way on base, evidenced by the nine walks he's issued through 47 2/3 innings.

"He's got excellent command," Honeycutt said.

Cubs: Close losses proving tough
Chicago is 18-30 in games decided by two or fewer runs. ... Eleven different Cubs have earned All-Star selections over the past four seasons.

Dodgers: L.A. running wild
Los Angeles is 26-17 in games it steals a base. ... All-Star shortstop Rafael Furcal has hit safely in 13 of his past 14 contests, batting .450 (27-for-60) during that stretch. ... Center fielder Matt Kemp's 100 career stolen bases are tied for 40th in franchise history with first-base coach Mariano Duncan.

Worth noting
Padilla is 3-4 with a 4.79 ERA in 15 career appearances (six starts) vs. the Cubs. He last started against them in 2007. ... Los Angeles holds a 1,020-1,018 all-time series edge against Chicago.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.