Cubs vs. Dodgers Preview, Sunday 8/4, 1:20 CT: Road Warriors

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

If the Cubs are going to be a playoff team in the future, they need to learn how to win at home. They haven't been very good at that this year.

After playing very poorly on the road in 2012 (23-58), the Cubs are a better road team (26-29) than they are at Wrigley Field this year (23-32). Since the Cubs' last pennant year in 1945, they have had just five non-strike years in which they have had a lower home winning percentage than the current .418:

1962: 32-49, .395
1966: 32-49, .395
1974: 32-49, .395
1957: 31-46, .403
1951: 32-45, .416

You'll recognize the first three of those years as three of the worst in the history of the franchise.

The 26 remaining home games (including today's) include 13 against possible playoff teams (Dodgers, Reds, Cardinals, Braves and Pirates). This isn't likely to get much better.

Why do you think the Cubs haven't been able to win at home this year?

Also, ICYMI, here's a GIF of the Yasiel Puig non-catch in Saturday's game:

How does a major-league umpire miss that call?

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus CF, Lake LF, Rizzo 1B, Navarro C, Schierholtz RF, Ransom 3B, Watkins 2B, Murphy SS, Villanueva P

Insert "other split squad" joke here.

Dodgers lineup:

Crawford lf, M. Ellis 2b, Gonzalez 1b, Ramirez ss, Ethier cf, AJ Ellis c, Schumaker rf, Uribe ss, Fife p

Today's Starting Pitchers

Carlos Villanueva

Carlos Villanueva


Cubs

vs. Stephen Fife

Stephen Fife


Dodgers

vs. LA

--

vs. Cubs


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Carlos Villanueva 2-7 29 13 0 0 0 1 95.2 92 46 46 12 31 72 4.33 1.29


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Stephen Fife 3-3 8 8 0 0 0 0 45.2 46 18 14 5 12 35 2.76 1.27

Carlos Villanueva's career numbers against Dodger teams (all in 2010 or earlier): seven appearances, one start, 11.25 ERA, 2.364 WHIP. Against current Dodgers: 21-for-72 (.292) with five home runs. Even Nick Punto (16 career HR) has homered off Villanueva. Doom. Doom. Doom.

Here's the low regard in which the Dodgers hold the Cubs: Zack Greinke, who was supposed to start this game, is being held back till Monday to face the Cardinals. Instead, the Dodgers send out Stephen Fife, who is just coming off a DL stint with shoulder bursitis. He has never faced the Cubs, and just two Cubs (Nate Schierholtz and Dioner Navarro) have ever faced him (both 0-for-2). Besides, in that photo he kind of looks like a cross between Kevin Gregg and former Dodgers closer Eric Gagne. We're 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 Dodgers site True Blue LA.

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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