Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros Preview, Tuesday 8/16, 7:05 CT: Historically Bad

What is Rodrigo Lopez of the Chicago Cubs saying to catcher Geovany Soto during the sixth inning of the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas? (Photo by Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images)

No, not the Cubs. It appears that the Cubs will be just garden-variety bad, about what they were a year ago or slightly worse.

The Astros have a chance to be historically bad. In addition to currently playing at a pace that would leave them with a 50-112 finish -- only one team, the 2003 Tigers, has won that few since 1965 -- they also have a chance for another statistical oddity, according to Jacob Peterson, who writes for SB Nation's Beyond the Boxscore and also has his own site, Junk Stats, a site devoted to the little statistical quirks about baseball.

Today, via his Twitter feed, Peterson noted that the Astros are about to join a select group of bad teams -- those that have scored more runs in their losses than in their wins. He tweeted:

Here are the teams to do it in the last 50 years: '61 Phillies, '62 and '65 Mets, '73 Rangers, '79 Blue Jays, '98 Marlins, '03 Tigers.

That's a pretty select group of bad teams; they lost 107, 120, 110, 105, 109, 108 and 119 games, respectively. The 1961 Phillies, in fact, lost 107 games in a 154-game season, the last the NL played under that format; at one point they lost a MLB-record 23 straight games and their percentage would have translated to 113 defeats in a 162-game season.

The 2011 Astros, he noted, have been unlucky as well as bad -- they're currently playing seven games below their Pythagorean projection for victories based on runs scored and allowed (they should be 45-77 based on that, which would still put them on pace for a 103-loss season.

Lesson? None, really; just that you are observing an historically bad season, and it's not the Cubs.

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Barney 2B, Ramirez 3B, Peña 1B, Byrd CF, Soriano LF, Colvin RF, Hill C, Dempster P

Astros lineup:

Bourgeois cf, Altuve 2b, Martinez lf, Lee 1b, Paredes 3b, Shuck rf, Barmes ss, Quintero c, Myers p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
vs. Brett Myers
Brett Myers
10-8 W-L 3-12
4.70 ERA 4.71
140 SO 118
53 BB 46
16 HR 27
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

2011 - Ryan Dempster 10-8 26 25 0 0 0 0 147.1 152 80 77 16 53 140 4.70 1.39

2011 - Brett Myers 3-12 25 25 2 0 0 0 160.2 176 91 84 27 46 118 4.71 1.38

Ryan Dempster faced the Astros on April 11 in Houston; until yesterday, that was the only game the Cubs had won in Houston this year. Dempster threw fairly well that day, although, as happened a few times early this year (and last year, too), he was left in a bit too long and gave up two home runs in the seventh inning. One was to Bill Hall, who isn't on the Astros any more, and the other was to Angel Sanchez -- his first MLB home run. Enough of that, already. Since June 8 Dempster has a 3.07 ERA and just three HR allowed in 73.1 innings.

Brett Myers has not lost to the Cubs since he returned to being a starter in 2008. That encompasses eight starts, in which he is 7-0 with a no-decision and a 1.72 ERA in 57.2 innings. He's walked just seven and struck out 55 in those eight games. Current Cubs are hitting just .210 (43-for-205) against him. So clearly, we are even more doomed than usual. Myers has just three wins this year -- two over the Cubs. One possible crack in the armor: the Cubs have been hitting a lot of home runs lately. Myers has given up 27 homers this year.

Today's game is on WGN and FSN Houston. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Astros site Crawfish Boxes.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7:05 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 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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