Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros Preview, Sunday 9/18, 1:20 CT: A Little More History

What is Darwin thinking? Darwin Barney of the Chicago Cubs bats against the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

October 3, 1976.

That's probably not a day that you remember well, even if you're old enough to do so. It was a Sunday, the final day of baseball's regular season that year. The 1976 Cubs were not a very good team; it would be the final game of Jim Marshall's Cubs managing career.

Why am I mentioning this today? Because before today, that was the last time the Cubs hosted a team at Wrigley Field that came into the day with 100 or more losses. On that 1976 date, the Cubs came in at 74-87; the Montreal Expos were 55-106. The Cubs finished a three-game sweep by defeating the Expos 8-2.

There's one more possibly significant thing that could happen today. On July 30, the Cubs lost their fifth game in a row to reach a season-low 23 games under .500 (42-65). The Pirates were 54-51, 13 games ahead of the Cubs when that day's action was completed.

Since then the Cubs are 25-20 and the Pirates 14-33. If the Cubs win today and the Pirates lose, the two teams will be tied for fourth place in the NL Central. The Cubs haven't been in fourth place since May 16. It's a small thing. I, for one, will take it.

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Campana RF, LaHair LF, Pena 1B, Byrd CF, DeWitt 2B, LeMahieu 3B, Hill C, Dempster P

Astros lineup was not available at posting time. Brett Myers is the starting pitcher.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Brett Myers
Brett Myers
Astros
10-12 W-L 5-13
4.66 ERA 4.52
177 SO 146
70 BB 54
21 HR 31
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Ryan Dempster 10-12 32 31 0 0 0 0 183.2 192 98 95 21 70 177 4.66 1.43


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Brett Myers 5-13 31 30 2 0 0 0 197.1 205 106 99 31 54 146 4.52 1.31

Ryan Dempster has had a rough year, no doubt about it. He and Brett Myers matched up on August 16 in Houston and Dempster actually outpitched Myers that day, giving up just two runs in seven innings, and just four hits. It would be nice to see Dempster finish the home season strong; he comes in with a home ERA (3.83) two runs lower than his road mark (5.83).

Brett Myers has always been tough on the Cubs. In three starts this year he has a 2.70 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. The Cubs finally got to him in that August 16 game, scoring four runs in seven innings. The Cubs should have won that game, and would have if not for Carlos Marmol. Anyway, I digress: perhaps this will be the day that the Cubs can finally defeat him.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago; no Houston TV (except online via MLB.TV). 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 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.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Bleed Cubbie Blue

You must be a member of Bleed Cubbie Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bleed Cubbie Blue. You should read them.

Join Bleed Cubbie Blue

You must be a member of Bleed Cubbie Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bleed Cubbie Blue. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker