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The Chicago Cubs head to Cincinnati for a short, two-game set against the suddenly hot Reds. While it would be nice to take both games, a split wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

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 Cubs just split a couple against the Giants, and, thanks to the rain, avoided facing Tim Lincecum in the rubber game of the series. The team has been floundering over the last few weeks, and they stand four games under .500, and five games out in the NL Central. That’s the definition of “could be worse.”

As for the Reds, they just swept their way in the Central lead, taking three against the Cardinals. They’ve lost just three times in May, and haven’t lost a series.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, May 16 at 6:10 CT on WCIU.
  • Tuesday, May 17 at 6:10 CT on CSN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded.

Cubs

Starters: Carlos Zambrano (4-1, 4.35), Matt Garza (2-4, 4.17)

Lineup:

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

Reds

Starters: Homer Bailey (2-0, 0.69), Edinson Volquez (3-1, 5.74)

Lineup:

  1. Drew Stubbs, CF
  2. Chris Heisey, LF (or Fred Lewis or Jonny Gomes)
  3. Joey Votto, 1B
  4. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  5. Jay Bruce, RF
  6. Scott Rolen, 3B
  7. Ramon Hernandez, C
  8. Edgar Renteria, SS (or Paul Janish)
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Starlin Castro is back-ish. He’s hitting .600 over his last five games, and that’s despite being slotted all over the lineup. Also hot? Marlon Byrd, who’s riding a career best (tied) 15-game hitting streak.

Carlos Zambrano has torn it up at Great American ballpark in his last five starts there – his ERA is a minuscule 0.75.

Brandon Phillips has a six-game hitting streak in which he’s hitting .417. He also always gives the Cardinals shit, so… I kind of like him.

Homer Bailey has a couple starts under his belt this year, both of them dominant. The catch? Both starts were against the Astros. The double catch? The Cubs’ offense is barely better than the Astros.

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 or something like that.

Although she has no connection to Chicago that I can discern, on TV, she plays a nurse in the fictional Indiana town of Pawnee, which I can only assume is close to Chicago. Thus, the Cubs’ rep: the beautiful Rashida Jones. The Cubs split with the Giants under her watch, so that’s enough to earn another two-game series.

As for the Reds, we’ll keep doing the redhead thing. Ronald McDonald it is. Ok, fine, how about more Isla Fisher?

rashida jones hot

Versus

isla fisher

  • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

    Hey, Ace, didn’t we get two pics of each chick in years past? Maybe that’s the problem this year…

    • Ace

      Indeed we did. Of course, the opponent did as well. I’ll have to think about that…

  • Brady

    Love the blog, read it everyday. Not a fan of the new setup though.

    • Ace

      Thanks, Brady. If you have a chance, could you offer some specifics? What don’t you like/what did you like better before?

      • Andrew

        I know for me – the old setup auto-formatted for my phone. This one does not and seems a little bulky when trying to read on it. That’s my 2 cents. Doesn’t keep me from reading, just makes it annoying at times.

        • Ace

          Thanks, Andrew. When you say auto-formatted for your phone, do you mean that it fit to your phone screen? If so, may I ask what phone you have? Part of the reason for choosing this design is that it fits better with most phones (for example, it fits perfectly (in theory) on the iPhone).

          • Andrew

            I’m on a Droid – the LG Optimus (it’s one of the cheap droids with a small-ish screen). With the old design my phone would cut the right sidebar but the actual content fit perfectly. When I would read an article, the margins would fit within the confines of my screen. With the new design I have to scroll right for each line of the article. Very well could be that I’m missing something obvious to fix it, but it did change when the site design switched.

            • Ace

              No, I’m sure it’s not you – the content of the posts is a few pixels wider than on the old site, which looks much better than it used to, but I hadn’t considered the unfortunate side effect on phone-browsing. Some day down the road there will be an actual mobile version of the site, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do it. I hate the idea that you have to scroll back and forth each time, but I’m not sure the solution right now. I suck.

          • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

            Ace, FWIW, if the mobile version of the site dropped the right side of the page entirely it’d be a much easier read. If I want to read BN on my iPhone, I usually stick to the RSS feed because it’s content-only, no navigation or peripheral stuff. As for viewing on iPad or desktop browser, the new site is great. I really like how each post header gets a brief description/preview that’s not just the first line of the actual post.

            • Ace

              That’s probably what the mobile version will ultimately be (though I like seeing the full site on my iPhone). But, no ETA on that, I’m sorry to say. Sounds like RSS might be a good solution for Andrew.

          • MichiganGoat

            works great on my iphone 4 and ipad… I just zoom in to get rid of the right side table . The only thing I would add is to update you logo to fit the width of your banner. I love the logo but it doesn’t fit well in that space, too much dead blue.

            • Ace

              Thanks, MG, but… that won’t be dead blue space forever. At some point… it’s going to have an ad. Sorry… gotta pay the bills…

              Basically, the space is designed to hold a standard ad size, but integrated into the site so it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb (i.e., so it doesn’t annoy readers).

              • MichiganGoat

                don’t we all… I’d prefer the ads up there than anywhere else

            • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

              “Dead Blue” sounds like the story of our past few seasons.

              • MichiganGoat

                ya know I thought about that same thing after I posted it… ah pessimistic thought you never let me down

      • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

        Brady told me to tell you that more pictures of hot chicks would help.

  • Jody

    Isla Fisher is hotter than Rashida Jones in my opinion so we are limiting the Cubs’ chance of victory here.

    • Ace

      No WAY.

  • jstraw

    Ace, how do I get at older posts in the redesign and is there an option to expand all posts on a page? I’m not a fan of “click to read full story.”

    Sorry…didn’t know where else to post this.

    • Ace

      No prob. To the older posts, you can either click on one of the categories (at the bottom of the page), or the archives on the bottom right. Or you can use the search in the upper right. Archives is your best bet if you want to page back through all posts.

      As to expanding all posts on a page, there isn’t a way to do it other than using the RSS feed. I know it’s slightly less convenient to click on each post to read, but I like the aesthetics much better. I also now don’t feel like long posts bury the ones below it. I know, it’s a matter of preference.

      If you have some thoughts on the issue, I’m open to them.

  • jstraw

    I’m talking about having “older posts,” “newer posts” links after the so-many-posts-per-page. When I get to the bottom of that list and still haven’t made back to the most recent article that I’ve already seen, I need a link to get me back to the next bunch…and the next…and so on. There’s no search that will accomplish this and I don’t want to think that hard about a category view. I may have left off at a point that straddles categories.

    I understand exactly why you’re posting excerpts and links to the full article. I’m just going to tell you that in the trade off between increased page views and people reading the articles, I personally am not going to do that much clicking. I’m only going to click through on stuff that’s REALLY compelling. I will absolutely end up reading less of your hard work. It’s just a fact. And for any readers that are blocking ads, you’re just using additional bandwidth without getting any additional ad deliveries.

    Just my .02.

    • Ace

      To the first point, again: the best bet is the archives, unless I’m a total idiot and still missing your point. Click on May, and it will have every May post. Then you can just keep going back from there. I suspect that I’m an idiot – I know it’s different than it was before, but doesn’t it do the same thing you’re looking for? The alternative is just to pull the RSS feed (which also addresses your second comment).

      To the second point, that’s kind of a cynical, shitty thing to say when I just said that the reason is aesthetics. The truth is not everyone *wants* to read every single post – did you consider that flip side? The truth is, to my eye, this *looks* much better. I’m absolutely all for constructive feedback – I invited it openly – but I’m not down with the way you chose to go about that. I am sorry that the design means an additional click or two. It’s my hope that everything I write appears sufficiently compelling to be worth the literal one additional second this design might add to your day.

      Otherwise, just pull the RSS feed – you get full posts on one page, you can cycle through them in order, and you don’t even have to give me any ad impressions for all of my hard work.

      • TWC

        I think I understand the first point. If there was simply an “Older Posts” button at the bottom of the list of posts (before the “Analysis and Commentary” and “Chicago Cubs News” and other various category links), that might be what jstraw’s looking for.

        As far as the rest goes, if I have an ad blocking plug-in on my browser, does that mean you (Ace) are not seeing any revenue from my visit?

        • Ace

          Yup, I think I follow. I’m going to see about adding that.

          To the second part, sort of. I don’t see any revenue directly from your visit, but I see indirect revenue by virtue of being able to say the site’s readership is X-thousand big. Hopefully most folks don’t block ads on mom and pop sites like this one, but I certainly understand if they do.

          • TWC

            Huh. Truthfully, I never thought much about it. I always figured you make your money on the customized Steampunk My Little Pony action figures you sold on eBay….

            But for what it’s worth, as of now BN is officially un-ad-blocked on my browser.

            • Ace

              Well thanks.

              And the MLPs thing, well, that’s just a hobby.

  • http://karenscubsblog.blogspot.com/ Karen P

    .75? Damn… Also, I’m curious: you seem to have a RIDICULOUS number of stats and facts on the team. Where do you pull these from? Are you just looking at the game notes for the teams or is there a website you use?

    Also, I really like the new layout/format. It’s cleaner, the font is a bit easier to read and everything just seems a bit more concise, which (to me) is never a bad thing. :)

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