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HOU@STL: Harrell fans seven over 5 2/3 innings

There haven't been too many bright spots in Houston this season, but rookie pitcher Lucas Harrell has certainly been one of them.

The righty was named the Astros' Rookie of the Year on Sunday by the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America and is set to make his final start of the season in Monday's series opener at Wrigley Field.

"It's big for me. I want to end on a good note, I want to try to cap this year off going out on a high note," Harrell said. "I just want to go out there and give us a chance to win. That would be big for some momentum going into the offseason." Harrell (10-11, 3.88 ERA) made the starting rotation at the end of Spring Training and was the Astros' most consistent starter. He leads all Major League rookies with 187 2/3 innings pitched, is second among rookies with his 10 wins and is the only rookie to pitch a shutout this year.

"I'm going to go out there and pitch until they take the ball from me," he said. Harrell has struggled of late, failing to win his past six starts, going 0-2 with a 3.22 ERA in that span. He hasn't won a game since Aug. 21.

He'll toe the rubber against Cubs righty Jason Berken, who has had his fair share of problems as well.

Berken was roughed up in his most recent start against the Rockies, giving up six runs on nine hits in four innings of work. He'll look to avoid giving the Cubs their 100th loss of the season. "We've lost so many close games," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "That's why the [James] Russells and [Shawn] Camps have pitched so many games because we were trying to stay in games and get back. We were in a lot of ballgames. The bottom line is you have to score runs."

Astros: Houston BBWAA names Astros award winners
The Houston BBWAA handed out a number of year-end awards on Sunday.

Along with Harrell's Rookie of the Year honors, All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve was named the Astros' 2012 Most Valuable Player and reliever Wilson Lopez was named pitcher of the year.

Catcher Jason Castro was honored with the Darryl Kile "Good Guy" Award for his contributions in the community and cooperation with the media.

Cubs: Soriano remains offensive force for Cubs
• Alfonso Soriano knocked in two RBIs Saturday to add to his total this season and set a new career-high at 108.

Soriano, 36, has 32 home runs this season, the fourth time he's reached that mark, and has one year remaining on his contract in Chicago.

"That's been our one cornerstone as far as run production," Sveum said "It's hard to replace that. [Anthony] Rizzo should be fine in a full season and then you find somebody else who can hit home runs to hit fifth. That's where you start at. Who knows who that is? That's the million dollar question we have to deal with."

• Shortstop Starlin Castro was in the Cubs starting lineup again, marking his 159th appearance of the year, matching last year's total.

Castro has appeared in every game so far and could play in all 162 games in the season.

He is hitting .285 with 14 homers and 78 RBIs this season.

Worth noting
• The three-game stint in Chicago will be the Astros' last series as a member of the National League.

• The Cubs will be glad to return back home. They have set a new single-season franchise record with 58 losses on the road this season. The previous record was 56 losses in 1956. Comments