It’s series preview time again as the Chicago Cubs welcome the best team in the National League to Wrigley Field. So bring it on Braves… er… Dodgers … er Cardinals? Giants?
Wait. San Diego Padres? Um, what?
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 beautiful women, too. So there’s that.
We’re Going Streaking
The Cubs are presently rushing to schedule the St. Louis Cardinals for every series for the rest of the season. They just took two of three from the formerly first place Cardinals, the Cubs’ first series win since… you guessed it, the last time they played the Cardinals, three weeks ago.
The Padres are easily the most surprising team in the National League – oh, and quite possibly the best. Going into the 2010 season, not one person thought the Padres would be able to climb out of the bottom two in the NL West, let alone compete for the title (and that includes all Padres and Padre fans). But here we are in mid-August, and the Padres, on the strength of the best pitching in the NL are 22 games over .500. They’re 3.5 up on the Giants in the NL West.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, August 16 at 7:05 CT on WGN.
- Tuesday, August 17 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
- Wednesday, August 18 at 1:20 CT on CSN.
- Thursday, August 19 at 1:20 CT on WGN.
Expected Starters and Lineups
These lineups should be pretty close to reality.
Starters: Tom Gorzelanny (6-6, 3.65), Randy Wells (5-10, 4.60), Casey Coleman (0-0, 8.64), Carlos Zambrano (4-6, 5.27)
- Colvin, RF (though Fukudome is seeing a lot of playing time lately)
- Castro, SS
- Lee, 1B
- Ramirez, 3B
- Byrd, CF
- Soriano, LF
- DeWitt, 2B
- Hill, C
Starters: Kevin Correia (9-7, 4.86), Jon Garland (11-8, 3.41), Clayton Richard (10-5, 3.80), Mat Latos (12-5, 2.32)
- Jerry Hairston, 2B
- Miguel Tejada, SS
- Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
- Ryan Ludwick, RF
- Chase Headley, 3B
- Scott Hairston, LF (also a little Will Venable)
- Tony Gwynn, Jr./Chris Denorfia, CF
- Yorvit Torrealba, C
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Starlin Castro dropped an 0-5 on his erstwhile excellent batting average yesterday, so he’ll get a day off in the series opener against the Padres. He’s going to get enough at bats to qualify for the batting title, so he’ll give us something tangible to root for.
Carlos Zambrano heads to the bump again, but I’m still waiting to see a solid outing – he’s given up far too many hits and walks thus far in his return to the rotation, regardless of the number of runs he’s given up. That’s the product of luck, and it will run out in short order if he can’t cut down on the baserunners.
The Padres’ success has been built on the strength of their baseball-best pitching, there’s no secret there. Even Kevin Correia, the “worst” pitcher the Cubs will face this series, has been hot of late – yeah, his ERA is near 5, but it’s just 3.60 ERA since the All Star break.
Another non-secret? Adrian Gonzalez is the best hitter on the Padres. He leads the team in the triple crown categories (hitting .296, 22 homers, and 74 RBI), and has his OPS near .900 after a consistently good August.
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 whether I should change things up this year, and offer a different representative for the Cubs this year, after a 2009 full of Marisa Miller. But then I realized Marisa Miller is still smoking hot.
So, given the fact that she’s thrown out the first pitch, sung the Seventh Inning Stretch, probably likes the Cubs, and is still hot, just one year older, I’ve chosen to stick with supermodel Marisa Miller.
For the Padres, I wanted to get back to someone who actually hails from San Diego. It’s a beautiful city with plenty of beautiful people to choose from, so it wasn’t tough to find several possible representatives. Winnowing the list down to a final choice was a little more difficult, but I think I’ve got a good one.
none other than California beauty queen Carrie Prejean, the morality champion who’s positive message took a hit when nude photos and a sex tape or two surfaced. Not only does Prejean come from San Diego, the religious undertones of her short-lived time in the public spotlight dovetails nicely with the team she represents: the Fathers.