The Chicago Cubs head out to face the always scrappy (read: no, seriously, against the Cubs they’ve been scrappy as hell) 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 had their streak of consecutive series wins snapped at the hands of the one team they really needed to beat – the St. Louis Cardinals. They’ve now lost three of five, and stand six games out of first in the Central, and five games behind the second place Reds.
The Pirates have lost five in a row, but when it comes to the Cubs, you can throw all such things out. They’re 5-1 against the Northsiders this year, despite having a 20-31 record overall. If the Cubs can’t take two of three in this series, they should truly pack it in for the year.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, May 31 at 12:35 CT on WGN
- Tuesday, 1 at 6:05 CT on CSN+.
- Wednesday, June 2 at 6:05 CT on CSN.
Expected Starters and Lineups
These lineups should be pretty close to the real deal.
Starters: Randy Wells (3-3, 4.79), Ted Lilly (1-4, 3.63), Carlos Zambrano (1-3, 6.12)
Lineup (tons of speculation based on Lou’s comments about shaking things up) (updated and edited to reflect Monday’s actual lineup):
- Fukudome, RF
- Byrd, CF (Colvin will get in at some point this week)
- Lee, 1B
- Ramirez, 3B (sigh)
- Fontenot, 2B
- Soriano, LF (pro tip: make sure your best hitter gets the third fewest at bats)
- Soto, C
- Castro, SS
Starters: Ross Ohlendorf (0-3, 5.11), TBA, Zach Duke (3-5, 5.09)
Lineups (the Pirates are another team whose order changes frequently):
- Andrew McCutchen, CF
- Neil Walker, 2B
- Andy LaRoche, 3B
- Garrett Jones/Ryan Church, RF
- Ryan Doumit, C
- Jeff Clement, 1B
- Lastings Milledge, LF
- Ronny Cedeno, SS
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
All eyes will be on Carlos Zambrano’s Wednesday return to the rotation. He’s been pitching very well of late, but obviously all out of the pen.
Ryan Theriot’s skid is reaching Aramis Ramirezian proportions – he’s still walked just once this month (on the first day of the month), and worse, the month has seen his average fall from a high of .357 all the way to .286. His OBP is down to a pathetic .315, and his slugging percentage is an even more pathetic .316. He needs to sit.
Speaking of Aramis Ramirez, if his thumb allows him to play at all, he’s assured to play poorly – his slash line stands at .166/.232/.276. It’s about to be June, folks. Derrek Lee? .237/.342/.374. These guys are killing the Cubs.
As for the Pirates, Ross Ohlendorf has pretty sucked against everyone not named the Cubs. So watch out for that.
The Pirates’ offense has been hilariously bad – the team’s OBP stands at .308, and the slugging at .357.
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.