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The hits just keep on coming – I warned you that the Cubs were on a brutal stretch of games, save that Diamondbacks series – as the team heads to Chavez Ravine to take on the Dodgers. No, the Dodgers aren’t world-beaters. But they aren’t pushovers, either.

By way of reminder, the Series Preview hooks you up with what you need to know about every series this year – streaks, broadcast information, pitchers, lineups, 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 beautiful women, too.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs split their four-game set in Phoenix, ending with yesterday’s groin-stomping loss. It’s May now, so looking at the standings is fair game. And the looking ain’t good – the Cubs are 12-15, 3.5 back of the Cardinals, and alone in fifth place in the Central. Yuck.

The Dodgers just lost a series to the Padres, and fell a game below .500. Proving that it could always be worse for the Cubs, despite being in second place in the NL West, the Dodgers are already four games behind the Rockies.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, May 2 at 9:10 CT on CSN.
  • Tuesday, May 3 at 9:10 CT on WGN, MLBN.
  • Wednesday, May 4 at 2:10 CT CSN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups should be pretty close to reality.

Cubs

Starters: James Russell (1-3, 8.31), Ryan Dempster (1-3, 9.58), Carlos Zambrano (3-1, 4.91)

Lineup:

  1. Fukudome, RF
  2. Barney, 2B
  3. Castro, SS
  4. Ramirez, 3B
  5. Pena, 1B
  6. Byrd, CF
  7. Soriano, LF
  8. Soto, C
  9. Pitcher

Dodgers

Starters: Clayton Kershaw (2-3, 3.52), Chad Billingsly (2-1, 4.46), Ted Lilly (2-2, 4.45)

Lineup:

  1. Jamie Carrol, SS
  2. Jerry Sands, LF
  3. Andre Ethier, RF
  4. Matt Kemp, CF
  5. Juan Uribe, 3B
  6. James Loney, 1B
  7. Rod Barajas, C
  8. Aaron Miles, 2B
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

I want to talk about better things here. I want to talk about how Alfonso Soriano’s recent power surge has him on pace for 60 homers this year. I want to talk about how Carlos Zambrano might be ready to turn it on. I want to talk about how Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro are awesome. I want to talk about how the bullpen is actually pretty good.

But I can’t talk about any of those things.

Because all I can think about are Ryan Dempster and James Russell, each robbing the Cubs of any chance to win the first two games of this series.

As for the Dodgers, Andre Ethier is the guy you’ve heard about. He’s got a 27-game hitting streak, and is a near certainty to leave this series at an even 30. Did you know: a few years ago, Jim Hendry made two serious runs at acquire Ethier from the Dodgers, only to be rebuffed. At least Hendry was right about that one.

Matt Kemp leads the Dodgers in almost every other offensive category. Clayton Kershaw is the team’s ace, so it will be fun to see him (not). And Chad Billingsley, who was struggling to start the year, got off the schnide, of course, against the Cubs a week and a half ago.

Series She-View

The Series She-View is one beautiful woman representing the Cubs taking on another (usually) beautiful woman representing the opponent. The Cubs’ representative will change as the team’s needs change – in other words, if the Cubs are winning, the rep will stay the same. But if the Cubs’ performance calls for a change, someone new will step in. The opponent’s representative will change from series to series, at my whim. But at least she’ll probably be wearing the opponent’s colors.

The Chicago Cubs are currently represented in the Series She-View by Sofia Vergara, and she’ll keep her job after a series split with the Diamondbacks. As the Cubs rep, it was not an overly impressive series for Sofia, but as a human being, it was glorious.

Due to demands in the comments, this time around the Dodgers will be represented by an actual huge Dodger fan, Alyssa Milano. She’s hot, I suppose, but the Dodger gear turns a brother off.

sofia vergara sexy

Versus

alyssa milano dodgers fan

  • willis

    The Dodgers have to be licking their chops seeing the starters tonight and tomorrow.

    Over/under the first two games for Dodger runs: 22

    • Ace

      OVER.

  • Spencer

    Why not not move Soriano up in the order to third? He’s the only one hitting for power and his average isn’t terrible right now. Let Castro/Fuk bat 1 and 2 in the order and drop barney down. Sori isn’t going to be getting many RBI opportunities batting behind Byrd and Pena.

  • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

    Realistically, you have to believe Quade when he says Ramirez is stuck at 4th. So I say (and think that it will be) have Soriano bat 5th. That’s a good spot for a homer guy. Marlon feels on the verge of being a consistently good hitter again, and Pena is- eventually- going to bust out. I think if that ball last night would have been a home run, we would see a different Pena this series. Baseball is a very mental sport.

    And it seems awfully quiet on Soto… the dude is hitting pretty decent. I’m starting to trust him at the plate! (not to mention he’s been gunning a few dudes down)

    We Cub fans are a cynical lot, but I am remaining optimistic at this point. Russell may well give up 7 or 8 runs, but if we score 15 or 20 we might be okay.

    PS Sofia Vergara is smokin.

    • Ace

      If the Cubs are to score 15 runs, they’ll need about 85 hits. And 15 solo homers.

  • TSB

    Do I note a streak of extreme stubborness in M.Quade? it seems as if he sets his mind on something, and it doesn’t matter if it’s not working, it’s his way or the highway.
    Yes, move Soriano up in the batting order. After all. Byrd and Pena can get out of their slumps batting 6,7, or 8 just as well as batting 3,4,or 5.

    • Ace

      It sure feels that way…

  • Bric

    Quade’s stubburness is starting to rival Hendry’s. They’re like bad poker players who have a ton of money which gives them patience. Occasionally they get a really good hand and win some money. But they lose alot of close ones. They don’t realize the hard part of the game is knowing what to do when things don’t go exactly the way you planned. At the end of the day they’re still down a couple hundred bucks and thinking “If it was just six more inches…”

    • Ace

      Hope is clearly considered a strategy in the Cubs front office.

    • Jeff

      Aside from the James Russell thing, I don’t think Quade’s really been that stubborn. He’s been trying Castro at 1 and 3, moving Fukudome around, giving Jeff Baker playing time, he moved Soriano up from seventh(something that would have taken Lou 2 more years to do), he’s been willing to compromise on some areas and make some moves that have made sense to critical fans. He has done his share of questionable things, mainly his all around handling of the pitching staff so far, but I tend to wonder if that’s because of Mark Riggins or Hendry’s influence. He really is in a pretty tough spot this year, hopefully he is the learn on the job type.

      • Bric

        Agreed. But again, listen to the most recent Quade quote:
        “It’s tough, one pitch away from a great outing or a little bit of a disaster.” In other words, “Just one ore King to give me a full house…” If Quade isn’t stubborn he’ll look at the stats since he started moving Castro around and put him back in the lead off hole. It’s his position until someone takes it from him. Why break the one thing that’s working? The flipside can also be said about continuing to start Russell and Coleman. It isn’t working so why not try something else instead of living a pipe dream. like Hendry. How many different years has Hendry told us in May “Just wait until we get back to full strength…” By June the season is over to everybody but him.

  • KB

    Sofia is a quite attractive lass.

  • czechxican

    I really can’t understand why Pena isn’t bunting more, why Ramirez, Byrd and Soto are now essentially the same player offensively, AND why we don’t pitch the bullpen exclusively to start games—they’re the only ones who pitch consistent

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