Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers Preview, Tuesday 6/5, 7:10 CT

Jeff Samardzija of the Chicago Cubs hits a single that scored Darwin Barney against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Over the last 50 years, the Cubs have had an inordinate number of bad teams. They've lost 90 or more games 13 times, and had two other teams (1981 and 1994) that likely would have if not for labor stoppages. The four worst of the last 50 years:

1962 and 1966: those teams both lost 103 games, the club record. But those teams both had the seeds of the good teams that followed in players like Ron Santo, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins.

1980: that team lost 98 games, second-most in club history. But that team's longest losing streak was "just" seven, it didn't fall under .500 for good until June 4, and it was only 5½ games out of first place as late as June 20. It had a future Hall of Fame closer in Bruce Sutter and the NL's batting-average champion in Bill Buckner.

1981: that team had a horrendous "first half", starting out 10-36 and only being as "good" as 15-37 by winning five of its last six before the strike halted the season for two months. After the strike it went 23-28, and, bizarrely, after a 10-9 win over the Mets on September 24, was 20-21 in the second-half standings, just three games out of first place in the split-season standings with 10 games remaining. That set up the wacky possibility that a team more than 20 games under .500 overall could make the playoffs. Fortunately for MLB, the Cubs lost seven of their last 10 and were eliminated. The '81 Cubs' overall percentage in the 103 decisions it had was .369, which projects to a 60-102 record. This horrific team did have three players who would play key roles on the next Cubs postseason team in 1984: Jody Davis, Leon Durham and Lee Smith.

Which brings us to the 2012 Cubs, who are cratering to a record approaching that of 1981. Arguably, there are just two players on this team: Starlin Castro and Jeff Samardzija (and maybe Matt Garza, if signed to an extension) who will be part of any future Cubs playoff team. This year's team has already had a 12-game losing streak; a loss tonight will give it the longest road losing streak in team history, and there's yet another futility mark it's approaching, noted by Chris Jaffe at Hardball Times. They've lost 10 straight one-run games. The team record is 11, set in July 1915:

In the stretch of 18 games, the Cubs played in 11 contests decided by one run and lost every single one of them. Finally, on Aug 1, 1915 they won a 2-1 game, to end the streak at 11.

Another negative record. The 2012 Cubs are threatening to be the worst team in franchise history. And that's saying a lot. I've added some loss countdowns to the right sidebar. Somehow, I think we're going to need them.

Cubs lineup:

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

Brewers lineup:

Gomez cf, Aoki rf, Braun lf, Hart 1b, Green 3b, Weeks 2b, Ransom ss, Maldonado c, Gallardo p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Yovani Gallardo
Yovani Gallardo
Brewers
0-3 W-L 4-4
2.90 ERA 4.22
54 SO 61
19 BB 31
6 HR 6
vs. Mil -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Ryan Dempster 0-3 9 9 0 0 0 0 59.0 49 21 19 6 19 54 2.90 1.15


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Yovani Gallardo 4-4 11 11 0 0 0 0 64.0 62 31 30 6 31 61 4.22 1.45

These two pitchers matched up April 11 at Wrigley Field. Without clicking on the link, can you guess what happened?

You're right. Ryan Dempster pitched well, but the Cubs lost by one run, in this case when George Kottaras hit a two-run homer off Dempster with one out in the seventh inning. Dempster has been very good this year, as you know, although he was hit pretty hard by the Padres in his last start. The Cubs actually won that game -- the last game they won, in fact, on the Darwin Barney walkoff.

Yovani Gallardo had a rough April, ending the month with a 6.08 ERA and 1.65 WHIP. He was much better in May, posting a 2.89 ERA and dropping the WHIP to 1.31. Current Cubs are hitting .262 off him (28-for-107), but then current Cubs are hitting .248 at Miller Park and .219 so far in June.

Clearly, we are doomed.

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 Brewers site Brew Crew Ball. Be careful over there, as always.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 7:10 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 8:10, 9:10 and 9:55 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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