Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros Preview, Friday 9/16, 1:20 CT: Historic Lows

Carlos Pena of the Chicago Cubs follows through on a two-run homer in the first inning during a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

This oughta be fun.

The last time there was a game at Wrigley Field between two teams that have as many or more combined losses than the Cubs and Astros do entering today (183, 85 by the Cubs and 98 by the Astros) was on September 29, 2002. The Cubs entered that day with 95 losses and the Pirates had 88, a total of 187. The Cubs won the game 7-3 (amuse yourself by checking out the lineups for both teams, especially the identity of one of the Pirates who homered that day) -- the last game of the 2002 season.

If the Cubs can win the first two games of this series, they'll give Houston their 100th loss on Saturday. If that happens, there's a little bit more of Cubs history to be claimed. I won't spoil the surprise until and unless that happens.

Hey, we have to have something left of interest this year, right? The Cubs can still finish 2011 with a winning home record, but they'd have to sweep this entire homestand to do it. That's not very likely.

And I'm going to mention this one more time. The Cubs should have been given the courtesy of a day game in Cincinnati yesterday. The Astros played a day game against the Phillies at home on Wednesday and so will have had almost two days off before the game this afternoon. This happened in August, too; the Cubs played a night game in Pittsburgh on Aug. 4, while the Reds enjoyed their off day in Chicago before the teams played on Friday, Aug. 6.

It's not whining or "playing the victim", as someone accused the Cubs of doing yesterday in the comments to one post here. It's simple fairness by MLB. Other teams schedule day games on getaway day; the Reds should have done so on Thursday. And as I have mentioned before, the city of Chicago should allow the Cubs to play two or three Friday night home games coming off road trips like this one. Today should have been one of those; instead, the Cubs arrived home about 1 a.m.

Cubs lineup:

Castro ss, Barney 2b, Ramirez 3b, Baker rf, Byrd cf, Pena 1b, Soriano lf, Soto c, Garza p

Astros lineup:

Schafer cf, Altuve 2b, Martinez lf, Lee 1b, Bogusevic rf, Paredes 3b, Barmes ss, Corporan c, Rodriguez p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Matt Garza
Matt Garza
vs. Wandy Rodriguez
Wandy Rodriguez
8-10 W-L 11-10
3.54 ERA 3.51
175 SO 155
60 BB 60
12 HR 23
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

2011 - Matt Garza 8-10 28 28 1 0 0 0 173.0 168 84 68 12 60 175 3.54 1.32

2011 - Wandy Rodriguez 11-10 27 27 0 0 0 0 172.0 164 74 67 23 60 155 3.51 1.30

Matt Garza has just one start against the Astros this year, on July 24 at Wrigley Field, part of the three-game sweep the Cubs gave the Astros that weekend. He even had an RBI single that day. Current Astros are hitting just .172 (5-for-29) against him, although he might want to avoid Clint Barmes, who has two of those hits, both home runs.

The Cubs have defeated Wandy Rodriguez twice this year and Wandy has a 5.25 ERA in those two starts. In the 12 innings he's thrown he has given up three home runs, to Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and Geovany Soto. More of the same today, please.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and my-20 in 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 1:20 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 or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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