Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies Preview, Saturday 6/11, 3:10 CT: The Elusive Three-Game Win Streak

Shortstop Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs fields a ground ball during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 10, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 7-5. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Several people here have asked me how long it's been into a season before any team had a three game winning streak.

One thing I can tell you that some of the worst teams in modern history were able to accomplish a three-game winning streak before June 11.

1962 Mets (40-120): May 19-20 (swept a doubleheader on May 20) 1962 Cubs (59-103): May 12-13 (swept a doubleheader on May 13) 1963 Mets (51-111): won four straight in April and five straight in May 1964 Mets (53-109): won three straight, May 13-15 1969 Padres (52-110): won first three games of the season 1970 White Sox (56-106): had three-game and four-game win streaks in May 1979 Athletics (54-108): won three straight April 16-18 1988 Orioles (54-108): lost first 21 games; won three straight May 21-23 2003 Tigers (43-119): won four in a row May 4-7 2004 Diamondbacks (51-111): won three straight April 25-27

There is one team that I've been able to locate that went until September to post its first (and only) winning streak of more than two games: the 1969 Montreal Expos, who won four in a row from September 12-15. Naturally, the last of those wins was over the Cubs, the last loss of a stretch where those Cubs dropped 11 of 12 and out of the pennant race.

This was not an exhaustive search; I looked mostly at the worst of the worst teams in the expansion era. But it seems clear that it's pretty rare for a team to get this far into the season without having won three (or more) in a row.

The Cubs made some roster moves today. They recalled Casey Coleman for extra bullpen help, and DFA'd Brad Snyder. Although Snyder has less than three years MLB service time, he has been outrighted to Triple-A before -- so he would have the right to refuse the assignment and become a free agent. That's possible, although I suspect he winds up outrighted to Iowa again. Snyder ought to follow his former teammate Micah Hoffpauir to Japan.

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Barney 2B, Montanez RF, Ramirez 3B, DeWitt LF, Soto C, Pena 1B, Colvin CF, Garza P

Prediction 1: Castro has a big day leading off today. Prediction 2: Castro is back batting third tomorrow.

Phillies lineup:

Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Polanco 3B, Ibanez LF, Brown RF, Ruiz C, Lee P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Matt Garza
Matt Garza
Cubs
vs. Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee
Phillies
2-5 W-L 5-5
4.07 ERA 3.62
71 SO 100
23 BB 20
2 HR 8
vs. Phi -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Matt Garza 2-5 10 10 0 0 0 0 59.2 62 34 27 2 23 71 4.07 1.42


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Cliff Lee 5-5 14 13 1 1 0 0 87.0 89 36 35 8 20 100 3.62 1.25

Matt Garza has made one regular season start vs. the Phillies in his career, in interleague play on June 24, 2009. He gave up just one run, a solo HR to Jayson Werth, who isn't on the team any more. Of the current Phillies, Raul Ibanez (who did not play that day) is 4-for-9 with a pair of HR off him.

Then there's the start he made against them in Game 3 of the 2008 World Series, where he gave up home runs to Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley. No repeats of that, please. Garza has allowed just two home runs so far this season.

Despite being in the AL much of his career, Cliff Lee has started four lifetime games vs. the Cubs, one in 2006, two in 2009, and one last year. He's got a career ERA of 1.71 against the Cubs and 25 strikeouts in 31.2 innings. This year, Lee, like his teammate Roy Halladay, has walked almost no one -- just 20 in 87 innings -- while striking out 100. For a free-swinging team like the Cubs, that's probably the kiss of death. Carlos Pena has hit three HR off Lee, but overall is just 6-for-36 with 12 strikeouts.

Today's game is on Fox. Essentially, you'll see the Cubs game if you are east of Denver (except in the north-central and south-central areas that will see Twins/Rangers, and the home area for the Reds in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. Here's the coverage map and 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 Phillies site The Good Phight.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 3 pm CDT and the overflow threads will post at 4 pm, 5 pm and 5:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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