Chicago Cubs vs. San Diego Padres Preview, Wednesday 8/8, 5:35 CT

What are these men thinking? Put your answer in the comments. San Diego, CA, USA; A general view of the Chicago Cubs dugout during a game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

We're exactly two-thirds of the way through the 2012 season -- 108 games, during which the Cubs have gone 43-65. Believe it or not, the second third was better than the first:

First 54 games: 18-36
Second 54 games: 25-29

Of course, that was 25-22 before the current seven-game losing streak. There's also this:

The 2011 Cubs went 28-26 in their last 54 games to finish at 71-91. I can't see this team playing over .500 for the balance of the season, given all the rookies on the team -- and I'm not saying I don't want that, this is the right thing to do.

It could, though, lead to an historically bad season, as I said early on when the team went on their 12-game losing streak. At the current winning percentage -- .398 -- the Cubs would have their lowest percentage since 1981's .369 (or, for a full season, .395 in 1980). It doesn't seem likely the Cubs will do much better than 18-36 over the final 54 games, which would result in a final record of 61-101, two games above the team's worst-ever record, and their first 100-loss season since 1966.

With those happy thoughts in mind, here's today's game info.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus CF, Barney 2B, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Castro SS, Castillo C, Vitters 3B, Mather RF, Samardzija P

Padres lineup:

Amarista CF, Cabrera SS, Alonso 1B, Headley 3B, Kotsay LF, Venable RF, Forsythe 2B, Baker C, Richard P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jeff Samardzija
Jeff Samardzija
Cubs
vs. Clayton Richard
Clayton Richard
Padres
7-9 W-L 8-11
4.37 ERA 4.01
124 SO 80
47 BB 33
13 HR 20
vs. SD -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Jeff Samardzija 7-9 23 21 0 0 0 0 125.2 119 63 61 13 47 124 4.37 1.32


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Clayton Richard 8-11 25 23 0 0 0 0 152.2 153 78 68 20 33 80 4.01 1.22

I can't figure out Jeff Samardzija. He'll look dominating (as he did recently in Pittsburgh), then have a mess of an outing where he gives up a ton of walks (as he did in the start right after that one, against the Cardinals). He did have one of his better starts against the Padres, May 29 at Wrigley Field, allowing three runs in seven innings with eight strikeouts. Current Padres are 11-for-42 against him with one home run (Carlos Quentin).

Clayton Richard last faced the Cubs August 18, 2010 at Wrigley Field; again, instructive to look just to see how many changes there have been to the Cubs since then. (That's two managers ago, too.) Current Cubs are a very small-sample-size 7-for-29 against Richard, who has had many good starts this year punctuated by a few bad ones, thus the average-ish 4.01 ERA.

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 Padres site Gaslamp Ball.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 5:35 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 6:35, 7:35 and 8:20 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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