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Didn't We Just Play These Guys? Cubs vs. Reds Preview, Friday 5/7, 6:10 CT

More about Starlin Castro, who will become the 10th Cub to wear uniform #13, from today's press release:

At 20 years and 44 days old today, Castro will become the youngest Cub to make his major league debut since Oscar Gamble on August 27, 1969 at the age of 19 years, 250 days. In addition, Castro will be the youngest to make his debut with the Cubs as a shortstop, surpassing Marty Shay at 20 years, 144 days on September 16, 1916. Since 1920, only 18 players have made their major league debut as a Cub at a younger age than Castro.

Thanks to the wacky way major league teams are scheduled now, the Cubs are playing the Reds for the second time in Cincinnati in less than a month. That makes six games vs. the Reds before they play the Cardinals once -- and the Cubs will face the Pirates for the second time (next weekend at Wrigley) before they play the Cardinals at the end of May.

For those who think this season is toast, let me tell you the story of a recent major league team. This team had just come off a pretty successful run where it had made the playoffs two out of the previous three seasons, and started off the following year with a decent, but not great, record, and after 27 games stood two games out of first place.

And then they started losing. Three in a row, followed by one win. Then four losses in a row, followed by another single victory, then three more losses, one win, then four more losses.

If you've lost count, that's a 3-14 stretch. During this stretch, this team lost five games in which they gave up nine or more runs and got outscored 118-52. At the end of this horrific run, this team was 19-25, ten games out of first place.

So where did this team finish? They lost 100 games, right? Finished 40 games out of first?

Obviously not, or I wouldn't be telling you the story. This is the story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics, who won 103 games and the AL West. This kind of thing happens all the time. Just ask the 2003 Marlins, or 2005 Astros, or 2006 Twins, or 2007 Rockies -- all good teams that got off to shaky, bad starts, but recovered to make the playoffs, and three of those teams went to the World Series.

The Cubs aren't as good as the 2002 A's. But neither are they as bad as they've looked the last three games. This team can turn it around.

Tonight would be a good time to start.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Silva
Carlos Silva
vs. Homer Bailey
Homer Bailey
2-0 W-L 0-1
2.90 ERA 6.04
21 SO 27
6 BB 13
4 HR 4
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs

2010 - Carlos Silva 2-0 5 5 0 0 0 0 31.0 25 12 10 4 6 21 2.90 1.00

2010 - Homer Bailey 0-1 5 5 0 0 0 0 28.1 37 20 19 4 13 27 6.04 1.76

Tonight features a pitching rematch of the game in Cincinnati on April 9; Silva threw extremely well in his first Cub start, but the Cubs lost in one of several early-season bullpen meltdowns. Bailey gave up seven hits and a pair of walks. The April 9 game is Silva's only career start vs. the Reds; Bailey is 1-1, 5.63 in three career starts against the Cubs. The Cubs, in fact, will face the same three starters in this series that they faced in April: Bailey, Aaron Harang and Mike Leake.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and on FSN Ohio. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter.

Tonight's first pitch thread will be up at 6 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 7, 8 and 8:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.