The Chicago Cubs unwelcome the hated St. Louis Cardinals (see what I did there?) for the two teams’ fourth series. It’s the last series before the All Star break, and depending on how it plays out, it could see the Cubs finish the first half in first place… or 7.5 out. A refresher on the series preview here at Bleacher Nation:
The idea is to hook you up with the bare minimum of what you need to know about every series this year. That way you can look like a genius, hardcore fan in front of all your friends, with minimum effort. Oh, and there will be pictures of hot chicks, too.
We’re Going Streaking
The Cubs had a nice little stretch going before losing back-to-back games to the Atlanta Braves. It put the team squarely back at .500, 3.5 out in the NL Central. This series is absolutely crucial for the Cubs, as noted, because their position in the division could fluctuate wildly. Obviously a sweep would be swell, but with a doubleheader on Sunday, it’s unlikely.
The Cardinals are hot, winners of six of eight. They lead the NL Central, and are the first team to actually make much of a move, now seven games over .500. But they also smell bad. So there’s that.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Friday, July 10 at 1:20 CT on WGN.
- Saturday, July 11 at 3:10 CT on FOX.
- Sunday, July 12 at 12:05 CT on WGN.
- Sunday, July 12 at 7:05 CT on ESPN.
Expected Starters and Lineups
These lineups aren’t always perfect, but they’re usually close.
Starters: Rich Harden (5-5, 5.35), Ted Lilly (8-6, 3.32), Randy Wells (4-3, 2.48), Carlos Zambrano (4-4, 3.47)
- Fukudome, CF
- Theriot, SS
- Lee, 1B
- Ramirez, 3B
- Bradley, RF
- Soriano, LF
- Soto/Hill/Fox, C
- Fontenot, 2B
Starters: Chris Carpenter (6-3, 2.32), Brad Thompson (2-5, 4.92), Adam Wainwright (9-5, 3.09), Kyle Lohse (4-4, 3.99)
- Skip Schumaker, 2B
- Colby Rasmus, CF
- Albert Pujols, 1B
- Ryan Ludwick, RF
- Rick Ankiel, LF
- Yadier Molina, C
- Joe Thurston, 3B
- Pitcher (Oh, Tony…)
- Brendan Ryan, SS
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
The Chicago Cubs’ offense has gone frigid again, even in spite of Alfonso Soriano’s move down the lineup, and Aramis Ramirez’s return. Kosuke Fukudome is looking good in the leadoff spot despite an OBP under .300 over the last month. Don’t look now, but in that same span, Milton Bradley’s OBP is well over .400, and his OPS is over .800.
Alfonso Soriano’s OPS since June 10th? .507. Could be worse. Mike Fontenot’s is at .480.
For the Cardinals, are you really going to be watching anyone but Albert Pujols? He’s now the Barry Bonds of baseball – you’d rather walk him in virtually any situation than pitch to him. He leads the Majors in home runs, slugging percentage, and RBIs. If and when Mark DeRosa returns from injury, when Ryan Ludwick starts hitting, when Rick Ankiel starts hitting, and when they all do it simultaneously, this is actually a terrifying offense.
That’s not to mention the two-headed Carpenter-Wainwright monster the Cardinals have leading the rotation. If there was any doubt that Chris Carpenter would defy the odds again in a a return from injury, doubt no more.
And now the best part of the preview: if the teams were represented by beautiful women, who would they be, and what would the match up look like. I thought long and hard about who would represent the Cubs this year.
Given the fact that she’s thrown out the first pitch, sung the Seventh Inning Stretch, probably likes the Cubs – oh, and the fact that she is a level of hot commensurate with the Chicago Cubs’ ability, I’ve chosen supermodel Marisa Miller. You’re welcome.
Previously, we’d gone with Sheryl Crow to represent the Cardinals. It seems even more appropriate given that she’ll be performing for a cancer research benefit at the All Star Game – in St. Louis. But alas, we’re all about putting asses in the seats. And there’s no better ass out there right now than Megan Fox.
I know what you’re thinking: how in the world does Megan Fox represent the Cardinals?
But it’s easy. Follow the syllogism: The Cardinals’ best player is Albert Pujols. Albert Pujols is called the Machine. The most popular movie right now is Transformers, about pseudo machines. The female star of Transformers is, ta da, Megan Fox.
See. Nailed it. We’ll go with a tastefully covered up competition.