The Chicago Cubs welcome the always scrappy (read: ok, they were scrappy last week) Pittsburgh Pirates. 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 streaks, lineups, game times, broadcast schedule, etc. 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 are riding what feels like a season-high winning streak of one. They’ve won just twice in their last nine games, and it all started with a sweep at the hands of these very Pirates.
After sweeping the Cubs, the Pirates went on to prove that they’re actually a very good team that had just failed to show it… no. No, they did not. They lost five of their next six games, culminating in a sweep at the hands of the Reds. That portends trouble for the Cubs; here’s what I said last week about the Pirates:
“The Pirates just lost three in a row after winning three in a row after losing seven in a row after winning three in a row. So, they are guaranteed to sweep the Cubs.”
That was supposed to be a joke, folks. But given that on-and-off sweeps seems to be their MO, you can apparently bank another sweep.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Friday, May 14 at 1:20 CT on WGN
- Saturday, May 15 at 12:05 CT on CSN.
- Sunday, May 16 at 1:20 CT on WGN.
Expected Starters and Lineups
These lineups should be pretty close to the real deal.
Starters: Tom Gorzelanny (1-4, 2.83), Ryan Dempster (2-3, 3.44), Ted Lilly (1-3, 4.88)
Lineup (this involves some guessing, as Wednesday’s lineup hinted at big changes, but that was without Ramirez):
- Theriot, 2B
- Fukudome, RF (Cubs face two lefties, so you can expect Nady at least once)
- Lee, 1B
- Byrd, CF
- Soriano, LF
- Ramirez, 3B
- Soto, C
- Castro, SS
Starters: Brian Burress (2-1, 3.91), Paul Maholm, (2-3, 4.61), Ross Ohlendorf (0-1, 3.00)
Lineups (the Pirates are another team whose order changes frequently):
- Akinori Iwamura, 2B
- Bobby Crosby, SS
- Andrew McCutchen, CF
- Garrett Jones/Ryan Church, RF
- Ryan Doumit, C
- Steven Pierce, 1B
- Lastings Milledge, LF
- Andy LaRoche, 3B
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Yup, Aramis Ramirez is still sucking hard. At least Derrek Lee has picked up a handful of hits in his last couple of games.
Speaking of sucking, don’t look now, but Ryan Dempster is kind of struggling: he’s dropped three straight games (though one (maybe two) was not his fault), and has seen his ERA rise from 2.60 to 3.44 in that span.
Starlin Castro is still raking: .364/.417/.636. Yup, we’ll take that. He can even make an error per game for those kind of numbers.
As bad as we feel the Cubs’ offense has been, the entire Pirates offense is struggling. They are last or second to last in all of the major offensive categories in the National League, and were just shut out twice by the Reds.
The pitching isn’t much better: of the pitchers who qualify, the best ERA on the team? 4.61 by Paul Maholm.
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.
For the Pittsburgh Pirates, we’ve been using the very beautiful Pirates of the Caribbean babe Keira Knightley. But you know what? The Pirates freaking swept the Cubs last time. So no more Keira. For now, anyway.
Instead, we’ll go with more of a local flavor. No, Pittsburgh is not overflowing with gorgeous women (Ben Roethlisburger will take anyone home, or to a bathroom, as the case may be). But nearby (in the sense that it’s in the same state) Wyomissing, Pennsylvania is the original hometown of a super hotty: Taylor Swift.
Yes, she’s got that girl next door thing going, but Taylor Swift is pretty hot when she wants to be.
So who you got in this one? Is it another sweep for the Pirates? Or do the – er herm – more mature Cubs prevail? This one is a water-in-the-background-but-who’s-looking-at-the-water match up.