Cubs vs. Reds Preview, Sunday 5/5, 1:20 CT: So Close, And Yet...

David Banks

The Cubs came close to winning both Friday and Saturday. And yet, here on Sunday, they need to win to avoid being swept.

The Cubs are 11-19. This, you know. Let's deconstruct that a bit, and compare it to where the team was at this time a year ago.

The two games so far in this series could both have gone the Cubs' way. I could have written that sentence about almost half the defeats so far this year. The Cubs' Pythagorean record is 13-17, two games better, which is significant after 30 games, less than 20 percent of the season. After 30 games in 2012, the Cubs were 12-18, and, oddly, they had been outscored by exactly the same total margin, 20 runs (104-124 last year, 109-129 this year).

After that 30th game in 2012, the Cubs won one, lost two, won two... and then lost 12 straight. I don't see this team running up a losing streak like that one.

I have mentioned this before, and I am well aware that the performance on the field has nothing to do with the TV channel the game is on. However:

WGN: 6-3
CSN: 4-13

(Along with 1-3 on other channels.)

That's just... weird. Back in 2007, the Cubs somehow had lost 18 straight games televised on WGN. It got so strange that even Len and Bob joked about it on the air. In any case, today's game is on WGN. Will that matter? Should it matter? Of course not. Still...

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Schierholtz RF, Navarro C, Valbuena 3B, Barney 2B, Jackson P

Reds lineup:

Choo CF, Cozart SS, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Bruce RF, Frazier 3B, Paul LF, Mesoraco C, Latos P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Edwin Jackson

Edwin Jackson


Cubs

vs. Mat Latos

Mat Latos


Reds

vs. Cin

--

vs. Cubs


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Edwin Jackson 0-4 6 6 0 0 0 0 33.0 36 28 23 2 17 34 6.27 1.61


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Mat Latos 2-0 6 6 0 0 0 0 39.1 35 11 8 3 8 37 1.83 1.09

I'm sure Edwin Jackson would like to forget April, one of the worst months of his career. So let's help, shall we? Here's something positive: Jackson threw a complete-game win, allowing just one run, for the Nats against the Reds in Washington April 14, 2012. He gave up just two hits and struck out nine. The two hits were by Miguel Cairo, who's retired, and Drew Stubbs, who isn't on the Reds any more. See how easy this could be?

Mat Latos threw seven shutout innings against the Cubs April 24 in Cincinnati, allowing just four hits. In fact, he's now on a streak of 18 consecutive scoreless innings and his ERA over his last three starts is 0.50. 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 Reds site Red Reporter. The usual caution is advised.

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.

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