Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros Preview, Saturday 6/30, 3:05 CT

What is Paul doing? And what is Starlin thinking? Starting pitcher Paul Maholm of the Chicago Cubs stretches against the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

The Cubs are 9-17 so far in June; today will wrap up this month's play. If the Cubs lose, that 9-18 record would be their worst in a calendar month since 2006, when they were ... 9-18 in June.

This year's got a 2006 feel around it, only worse.

The Cubs are also going for their third win in a row today. They have won three in a row just once this year, the sweep of the Padres at the end of May. The Astros have won just one road series this year (earlier this month over the White Sox at the Cell). It seems possible, until you remember that Houston has a lefthanded starter going today, and the Cubs are 4-17 against lefthanded starters.

The 2012 Cubs. They are what they are. Enjoy the game, if you can.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, LaHair RF, Soto C, Barney 2B, Valbuena 3B, Garza P

Bryan LaHair in the starting lineup vs. a LHP. Let's see what happens.

Astros lineup:

Schafer cf, Lowrie ss, Lee 1b, Bogusevic rf, Johnson 3b, Castro c, Martinez lf, Moore 2b, Happ p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Matt Garza
Matt Garza
Cubs
vs. J.A. Happ
J.A. Happ
Astros
3-6 W-L 6-7
4.06 ERA 4.83
79 SO 84
23 BB 33
12 HR 13
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Matt Garza 3-6 14 14 0 0 0 0 84.1 69 41 38 12 23 79 4.06 1.09


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - J.A. Happ 6-7 19 15 0 0 0 0 85.2 94 48 46 13 33 84 4.83 1.48

Matt Garza got hit hard by the Astros May 21 in Houston, giving up seven runs in three innings and allowing homers to Jason Castro (who has four HR in 346 career AB) and Chris Johnson. It's his only career start vs. Houston. Clearly, we are doomed.

J.A. Happ, whose name is pronounced "Jay" as if his initials were his name (they're not; they stand for John Anthony), threw six solid innings against the Cubs May 22 in Houston, part of Houston's three-game sweep at the Juice Box. Alfonso Soriano provided the only Cubs run, a solo homer. Happ, though, has a 3.46 ERA at home this year (10 starts), but a 7.36 ERA on the road (five starts), and has allowed more homers (eight) in 25⅔ innings on the road than in 60 innings at home (five). Maybe we're not doomed after all.

Today's game is on WGN.

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 The Crawfish Boxes.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 3:05 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 4:05, 5:05 and 5:50 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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