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Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros Preview, Wednesday 5/23, 7:05 CT

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With their eighth loss in a row Tuesday night, the Cubs equalled a losing streak they have posted seven other times since the club-record 14-game losing streak to start the 1997 season.

Since that record streak, they have lost more than eight in a row two other times:

Nine in a row from July 24-August 1, 1997
Nine in a row from May 8-May 18, 2002

So, unless they can pull out a victory tonight, they not only get swept by the Astros, but will have their longest losing streak in 10 years.

Such is the state of the Chicago Cubs in 2012.

Incidentally, if you missed the .gif version of the photo at the top of this post, that I posted courtesy of Grant Brisbee at Baseball Nation in the comments to yesterday's recap (and again in this fanshot), here it is again:

And here's another angle:

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus rf, Johnson cf, Castro ss, Soriano lf, Mather 3b, Baker 1b, Barney 2b, Hill c, Samardzija p

Same ol' same ol'. (sigh)

Astros lineup:

Altuve 2B, Lowrie SS, Buck RF, Lee 1B, Bogusevic CF, Johnson 3B, Martinez LF, Castro C, Rodriguez P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jeff Samardzija
Jeff Samardzija
Cubs
vs. Wandy Rodriguez
Wandy Rodriguez
Astros
4-2 W-L 3-4
3.00 ERA 2.24
53 SO 40
16 BB 15
4 HR 3
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Jeff Samardzija 4-2 10 8 0 0 0 0 51.0 43 19 17 4 16 53 3.00 1.16


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Wandy Rodriguez 3-4 9 9 0 0 0 0 60.1 51 19 15 3 15 40 2.24 1.09

Jeff Samardzija has never faced the Astros as a starting pitcher and the only Astros hitter who has more than four career AB against him is Carlos Lee (2-for-6, one home run). In short, what can we expect from Shark tonight? Who knows?

Wandy Rodriguez, on the other hand, has tons and tons and tons of experience against Cubs teams -- 19 career starts with a 3.99 ERA. He's off to a good start this season -- 2.24 ERA, 1.09 WHIP -- and that will probably have him at the top of the "who's getting traded at the deadline" list this year. Current Cubs are hitting .246 against Wandy with four home runs. But if you take out the numbers of Geovany Soto, who is on the DL, against Wandy, that drops to .216 with one home run. 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 Astros site Crawfish Boxes.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 7:05 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 8:05, 9:05 and 9:50 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.