Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros Preview, Tuesday 5/22, 7:05 CT

Joe Mather of the Chicago Cubs make a catch on a fly ball by Brian Bogusevic of the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Here is a list of seasons in the last 60 years in which the Cubs have had a worse record over their first 42 games than they have this year:

1953: 13-29. Run differential -68. Finished 65-89 (equivalent: 68-94 in 162-game season)
1957: 13-29. Run differential -62. Finished 62-92 (equivalent: 65-97 in 162-game season)
1962: 14-28. Run differential -74. Finished 59-103
1966: 13-29. Run differential -83. Finished 59-103
1981: 9-31. Run differential -75. Finished 38-65 (had two ties; equivalent 60-102)
2002: 14-28. Run differential -52. Finished 67-95

And then there's

2012: 15-27. Run differential -41.

The Cubs averaged the 162-game season equivalent of 99 losses over those six seasons. I can't see this one as being much better, and the way things are going now, it could be worse. No sugarcoating this one. The Cubs are the only team this season with two losing streaks of at least six games. They've got a way to go before they get to this year's worst (Royals, 12), but it sure looks like they're heading that way.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus RF, Johnson CF, Castro SS, Soriano LF, Mather 3B, Baker 1B, Barney 2B, Lalli C, T. Wood P

Astros lineup:

Altuve 2b, Lowrie ss, Maxwell rf, Lee 1b, Martinez lf, Johnson 3b, Snyder c, Schafer cf, Happ p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Travis Wood
Travis Wood
Cubs
vs. J.A. Happ
J.A. Happ
Astros
0-0 W-L 3-3
4.50 ERA 4.96
4 SO 42
3 BB 18
1 HR 8
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Travis Wood 0-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.0 3 3 3 1 3 4 4.50 1.00


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - J.A. Happ 3-3 10 8 0 0 0 0 45.1 51 26 25 8 18 42 4.96 1.52

Not wanting to go too long without a pitcher named "Wood" on the roster, the Cubs have recalled Travis Wood to rejoin the rotation tonight. Wood threw five shutout innings against the Astros on September 19, 2011. That's good, right? This is, too: Current Astros are hitting .237 against him (9-for-38) with no home runs. And he's hitting 1.000 (2-for-2)!

J.A. Happ last faced the Cubs on October 2, 2010 in Houston. Lineup for amusement value only -- most of those players are gone. Current Cubs are 8-for-17 against Happ; the usual very-small-sample-size caveats apply.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago. 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 post at 7:05 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 8:05, 9:05 and 9:50 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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