Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers Preview, Thursday 4/12, 1:20 CT

Darwin Barney of the Chicago Cubs dives safely into 2nd base against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Here's what this team is up against, after a 1-5 start that's the worst since the 1997 Cubs began 0-14. Below is a list of all Cubs teams in the expansion era to start 1-5 (or worse) over their first six games, and how they finished:

1997: 0-6 (68-94)
1986: 1-5 (70-90)
1983: 0-6 (71-91)
1981: 1-5 (38-65)*
1979: 1-5 (80-82)
1966: 1-5 (59-103)
1962: 0-6 (59-103)

* The 1981 team almost certainly would have shattered the team record for losses if not for the strike.

The average number of wins for those seven seasons (pro-rating the 1981 season to 60 wins) is 67. Of all those teams, only the 1979 team even had anything close to respectability -- it actually contended briefly before settling under .500.

I'm as optimistic as anyone, as most of you know. And I had hoped that the starting pitching would be enough to keep this team afloat, at least... and it's been pretty good. But the rest of the team... not so much.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus RF, Barney 2B, Castro SS, Soriano LF, Stewart 3B, LaHair 1B, Clevenger C, Johnson CF, Garza P

Brewers lineup:

Weeks 2b, Morgan cf, Braun lf, Hart rf, Gamel 1b, Gonzalez ss, Lucroy c, Izturis 3b, Greinke p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Matt Garza
Matt Garza
Cubs
vs. Zack Greinke
Zack Greinke
Brewers
0-0 W-L 1-0
3.00 ERA 0.00
5 SO 7
1 BB 0
1 HR 0
vs. Mil -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Matt Garza 0-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.0 5 2 2 1 1 5 3.00 1.00


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Zack Greinke 1-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 7.0 4 0 0 0 0 7 0.00 .57

Matt Garza, like Ryan Dempster, had a very good first start this year, only to have it ruined by bad bullpen work. Against the Brewers last year he posted a 4.35 ERA in three starts, winning two of them. Current Brewers are hitting .284 (19-for-67) against him with two home runs -- one by Ryan Braun, one by George Kottaras, who homered yesterday. Kottaras has 17 career home runs. Three of them are off Cubs pitchers.

Zack Greinke made three starts against the Cubs last year, his first in the NL. In the two starts at Miller Park, he threw 14⅓ innings, gave up one earned run and struck out 16. In the one start at Wrigley Field, the Cubs hit him real hard -- eight hits and eight runs, six earned. Ian Stewart is 3-for-5 lifetime vs. Greinke, who threw seven shutout innings against the Cardinals in his first 2012 start. Clearly, we are, once again, doomed.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Wisconsin. 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. The usual caution is advised.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 1:20 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 2:20, 3:20 and 4:05 p.m. 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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