Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers Preview, Sunday 8/28, 1:10 CT: On The Brink

What is this man thinking? Mike Quade of the Chicago Cubs reacts after the Brewers score a run during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

The Cubs have effectively been out of any playoff races this season for several months. We all know that.

But now, they stand on the brink of mathematical elimination: The Cubs' elimination number from the NL Central race is seven, and from the wild card race, it's eight. That means it's theoretically possible for the Cubs to be mathematically eliminated before August is over.

To be mathematically eliminated this early requires two things: your team being bad, and the teams leading the race(s) to be very good. Both conditions exist this year; the Brewers, leading the NL Central, have a shot at the best record in franchise history. The Braves, leading the wild card, could have their best mark since 2004.

The last time a Cubs team was mathematically eliminated before September was in 1966. On August 31, 1966, the Cubs lost to the Reds and the Giants and Pirates, tied for first place, both won, mathematically eliminating the Cubs. Of course, that was a single 10-team league with one winner -- and it wasn't either San Francisco or Pittsburgh. The Dodgers won the NL pennant before being swept by the Orioles in the '66 World Series.

At least we know changes are coming.

Cubs lineup:

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

Not surprised to see Koyie Hill in the lineup today -- Geovany Soto is 0-for-his-last-18 with nine strikeouts.

Brewers lineup:

Hart rf, Morgan cf, Braun lf, Fielder 1b, McGehee 3b, Betancourt ss, Hairston 2b, Lucroy c, Greinke p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Casey Coleman
Casey Coleman
Cubs
vs. Zack Greinke
Zack Greinke
Brewers
2-6 W-L 12-5
7.59 ERA 4.22
39 SO 155
32 BB 30
6 HR 16
vs. Mil -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Casey Coleman 2-6 14 11 0 0 0 0 51.0 69 44 43 6 32 39 7.59 1.98


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Zack Greinke 12-5 22 21 0 0 0 0 128.0 119 69 60 16 30 155 4.22 1.16

Casey Coleman started against the Brewers at Miller Park on September 12, 2010 and threw quite well. But his next start there, on April 10, was pretty mediocre. In short, who knows? Both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder homered off Coleman in the April game.

Zack Greinke got hit pretty hard by the Cubs on June 16 at Wrigley Field, including a homer by Carlos Pena, though he struck out 10. On July 27 at Miller Park, though, he threw 6.2 shutout innings against the Cubs. Altogether, in 12 innings vs. the Cubs this year, he has struck out 19. More strikeouts seem a more likely outcome today.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Wisconsin. Outside Chicago and Milwaukee, you can see this game on TBS. The national announcers will be Ernie Johnson and John Smoltz. 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 Brewers site Brew Crew Ball. (But be careful over there.)

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:10 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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