Cubs vs. Braves Preview, Sunday 5/11, 12:35 CT

Rick Renteria has an expressive face. What is he thinking here? - Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

If the Cubs lose Sunday afternoon, it'll be the 10,000th defeat in team history.

So let's talk about this 10,000-loss thing, since you'll probably be hearing about it from other places today, too.

Two other franchises have lost 10,000 games. One of them is the Braves, who have been in the National League as long as the Cubs have. The Braves lost their 10,000th almost three years ago, July 31, 2011. The Braves, as you likely know, were awful for many decades, but their winning ways since the early 1990s put them over .500 all-time; they went over .500 by defeating the Rays June 16, 2010 and haven't looked back.

Meanwhile, the Cubs, who were very good for the first five decades of the 20th Century, have been declining all-time since then. As of this morning they stand 451 games over .500 all-time, but that mark has dropped by 113 games since the beginning of 2010. That's how far the Cubs are under .500 since their last winning season.

The other club that's lost 10,000 is the Phillies, who haven't been around as long as either the Braves or the Cubs, but were horrific for decades until the 1970s. How horrific? Despite having had 20 winning seasons in the last 38 years, they are, as of this morning, 1,072 games under .500 all-time. Translated: it would take 29 consecutive 100-win seasons for the Phillies to go over .500 all-time.

Even with the bad years the Cubs have had recently, it would still take 12 straight 100-loss seasons to put them under .500 all-time. I don't think that's going to happen.

Related: the Yankees are 34 wins away from 10,000; they will become the first American League team to that mark (in the N.L., the Giants, Cubs, Dodgers, Cardinals, Braves and Pirates have reached 10,000 wins). It will take a while for the second A.L. team to reach 10,000; the Red Sox, second in A.L. all-time wins, are almost 900 wins behind the Yankees (9,093). It would take 10 straight 90-win seasons for Boston to reach that milestone in the fastest possible time.

I like this kind of stuff. Can you tell?

Cubs lineup:

Kalish CF, Coghlan LF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Schierholtz RF, Castillo C, Olt 3B, Barney 2B, Jackson P

Emilio Bonifacio gets today off.

Braves lineup:

Heyward RF, Pastornicky 2B, Freeman 1B, Gattis C,Johnson 3B, Doumit LF, Simmons SS, Harang P, Schafer CF

No Uptons in today's lineup, and once again, the Braves bat their pitcher 8th.

Today's Starting Pitchers

Edwin Jackson

Edwin Jackson


Cubs

vs. Aaron Harang

Aaron Harang


Braves

vs. Atl

--

vs. Cubs

Edwin Jackson pitched very, very well in his last outing. Do I expect this again? No, I do not. Jackson's last start against the Braves was September 22, 2013 at Wrigley Field. He allowed three runs in six innings. I'd take that.

So let me get this straight. Aaron Harang has a pretty bad year in 2013, combined between the Mariners and Mets. He gets invited to spring training by the Indians, non-roster guy, at age 36 (just turned 36 yesterday, in fact) probably his last shot.

He throws reasonably well for Cleveland (four games, two starts, 2.00 ERA in nine innings). That gets him released. The Braves sign him a week before Opening Day.

Naturally, that has made him one of the top starters in the National League this year. Because baseball.

He's got a long history against the Cubs, mostly from his time with the Reds: 27 starts, 4.35 ERA in 173⅔ innings, his most innings against any team. Current Cubs are 21-for-72 (.292) against him with a home run (Starlin Castro).

Perhaps this is not doom today.

Today's game is on WGN. In some areas this game can be seen on MLB Network.

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 Braves site Talking Chop.

For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.

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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