A Lesson From The NBA: Cubs vs. Marlins Preview, Monday 5/10, 7:05 CT

This morning, I wondered why the Cubs can't handle the pressure of 102+ years of not winning. In perusing some links, I came across this fanpost at Bright Side of the Sun, the SB Nation Phoenix Suns blog, celebrating that franchise's unexpected and spectacular playoff sweep of the San Antonio Spurs, a team that had defeated them on a depressingly regular basis in the NBA postseason.

It's a fun read for its own sake, but what stood out most to me in that post was a quote from Jacob Riis, a muckraking journalist from the turn of the 20th Century:

When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.

Metaphorically, the Cubs have hit that rock 102 times without a crack. But the "split" will come -- perhaps when we least expect it, when the team is coming off its lowest ebb, and perhaps from the most unexpected of sources. It's why you have to build a team to be a perennial contender -- get into the playoffs every year, and eventually you will win the World Series, as the Red Sox did. Or eventually you'll beat the Spurs, as the Suns did.

It'll happen. It could still happen this year, because this team is far better than its record. But it needs a jumpstart, and a new manager. Perhaps the winning will start tonight.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ted Lilly
Ted Lilly
Cubs
vs. Nate Robertson
Nate Robertson
Marlins
1-2 W-L 2-3
5.29 ERA 4.85
12 SO 18
4 BB 15
4 HR 4
vs. Fla -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Ted Lilly 1-2 3 3 0 0 0 0 17.0 19 10 10 4 4 12 5.29 1.35


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Nate Robertson 2-3 6 6 0 0 0 0 29.2 31 20 16 4 15 18 4.85 1.55

Yes, those are really the glasses that Nate Robertson wears. His record vs. the Cubs -- two appearances, one start -- is largely irrelevant, because the start was on June 16, 2006, and only Aramis Ramirez remains from the players who appeared in that game (warning: look at that boxscore at your own risk). Last June 24 in Detroit, he came into the game in relief and faced one batter (Kosuke Fukudome), who singled.

Ted Lilly doesn't have a great lifetime record vs. the Marlins, but he did throw a real nice game against them last May 2 at Wrigley Field, allowing only one run in eight innings and striking out ten. Ronny Paulino, of all people, pounds him (7-for-13, 2 doubles, 1 HR). Dan Uggla has homered twice off Ted in five AB. Hope for the wind to be blowing in tonight.

Today's game is on cable only, CSN Chicago and FSN Florida. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Marlins site Fish Stripes.

Tonight's first pitch thread will be up at 7 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 8, 9 and 9:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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