I've told this story a number of times before, but it bears repeating today.
In 1977, the Cubs got off to a hot start and were far ahead in the old N.L. East in late June. In those days, not all games were televised; so it was for this game on June 28, 1977, a game the Cubs won in Montreal 4-2 in 10 innings to get to 47-22, 25 games over .500. So I listened on the radio; on the postgame show Lou Boudreau said, "They can kiss the .500 mark goodbye!"
Of course, the kicker to the story is that the 1977 Cubs finished exactly at .500, and they had to lose their last five games to do it.
The Cubs enter today's action 10 games under .500 for the first time in 2013. Only one team in Cubs history has gotten to 10 games under .500 and come back to have a winning record. That's the 1968 team, who had a bad first half and were, just before the halfway mark, 35-45. They then went 49-33 to finish 84-78; that second half was a precursor to the great start of 1969. (The 2007 Cubs were nine games under, 22-31, and came back to win the N.L. Central title.)
This team isn't going to do any of that. I think I'm pretty safe in saying about the 2013 Cubs: "They can kiss the .500 mark goodbye."
Of course, I'd be happy to be wrong. But I don't think I will be.
DeJesus CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Sweeney LF, Schierholtz RF, Valbuena 3B, Navarro C, Barney 2B, Feldman P
Choo CF, Cozart SS, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Bruce RF, Frazier 3B, Paul LF, Hanigan C, Arroyo P
Today's Starting Pitchers
|2013 - Scott Feldman||4-3||8||8||1||0||0||0||49.1||39||19||12||5||18||39||2.19||1.16|
|2013 - Bronson Arroyo||4-4||9||9||0||0||0||0||60.1||57||23||22||6||10||36||3.28||1.11|
Scott Feldman has a 1.34 ERA and 0.942 WHIP in his last six starts. Raise your hand if you thought I'd be writing those words in late May 2013. This is his first career start and appearance against the Reds; the only three Reds who have faced him (Shin-Soo Choo, Jack Hannahan and Cesar Izturis) are a combined 6-for-39 (.154) with no home runs. Perhaps Feldman can keep his run going.
Unlike a lot of pitchers the Cubs have faced recently, who they have been seeing for the first time, Bronson Arroyo has a long history against the Cubs, as he has spent 11 of his 14 seasons in the N.L. Central. Overall, he's been better than his career norms against the Cubs; he's made 28 appearances (26 starts) covering 171⅔ innings with a 2.99 ERA and 1.148 WHIP. Current Cubs are 58-for-135 (.222) against him; Alfonso Soriano is 10-for-50, which is a lot of AB for any one hitter against any one pitcher. This is probably one reason Soriano is getting the day off. Arroyo hasn't allowed a run over his last two starts. Doom? Maybe.
Today's game is on WGN.
Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.
You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.