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The Chicago Cubs welcome the Astros to town to close out the last winnable nine-game stretch they’ll have for a long time (a DOOM stretch begins on Friday, but we’ll get there when we get there). A series win means the Cubs went 5-4 during the stretch – the bare minimum for me to have any hope at all.

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 are pictures of beautiful women, too.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs won the series finale against the Pirates, but that was it. They’ve been treading water for quite some time, and stand five under .500, 7.5 back in the Central.

The Astros were just swept by the now-West-Division-Leading Diamondbacks (wha?) after taking back-to-back series against the Dodgers and Blue Jays. All in all, it’s been a tough year in Houston: they’re 15 games under .500, holding the worst record in the NL, and second worst in baseball.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, May 30 at 1:20 CT on WGN.
  • Tuesday, May 31 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
  • Wednesday, June 1 at 1:20 CT on WGN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups should be pretty close to what actually gets thrown out there.

Cubs

Starters: Rodrigo Lopez (0-0, -.–), Carlos Zambrano (5-2, 4.59), Doug Davis (0-3, 6.75)

Lineup:

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

Astros

Starters: Aneury Rodriguez (0-2, 4.98), Jordan Lyles (0-0, -.–), Brett Meyers (1-4, 5.11)

Lineups:

  1. Michael Bourn, CF
  2. Jeff Keppinger, 2B
  3. Hunter Pence, RF
  4. Carlos Lee, LF
  5. Brett Wallace, 1B
  6. Chris Johnson, 3B
  7. Clint Barmes, SS
  8. JR Towles, C
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Another series, another new starter for the Cubs. It’s Rodrigo Lopez this time around, making his big league debut on the 2011 season. He recently tore up AAA, but was pretty crappy the last time around in the bigs. Still, I’d rather the Cubs took a chance on Lopez than sent James Russell or Casey Coleman out there again.

Alfonso Soriano has hits in 14 of his last 16 games, including five doubles and a homer.

Geovany Soto should actually play this series after technically returning in the finale of the Pirates series.

The Astros have their own pitcher making a debut in this series, though for Jordan Lyles, its his ML debut. He’s just 20 years old and is the Astros’ top prospect. Here’s hoping the Cubs make him throw strikes, and attack the ones he does throw.

Wouldn’t you know it, Brett Myers has been terrible this year… when he isn’t facing the Cubs. His only win of the year came in an earlier domination of the Cubs.

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 have some connection to the team or something like that.

Until this past series, the Cubs were represented by January Jones. And she lasted longer than most have this season, but that was partly based on her extreme beauty. And it pains me greatly to say that we’ve got to move on to another rep. Such is the price of a series loss to the Pirates.

Now, after (repeated) requests by reader RRK, the Cubs will be represented by Nikki Cox, who was hot approximately 15 years ago. That is both sexist and misogynistic, but, then again, this entire feature kind of falls under those categories. So, if only to please RRK, Nikki gets the call.

As for the Astros, how about Carrie Underwood? No, she’s not actually from Texas (she’s from Oklahoma), but she kind of seems like she would be. So, yeah, she’s it.

nikki cox used to be kind of hot

Versus

carrie underwood is currently hot

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Thank you, Ace!

  • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

    If we win and get stuck with Nikki Cox, I’m going to throw a fit.

    Like, literally tape a picture of Vera Farmiga over her when I load this website.

    • Raymond Robert Koenig

      Concentrate on the cleavage.

  • Spencer

    As bad as Russell was this season, if there was a team I wouldn’t mind him starting against it would be the Astros. I’m not saying he should start because that experiment clearly didn’t work out, so makes sense to give Lopez a try. I guess really what I’m saying is that it doesn’t matter who starts against the Astros because they are so bad. So naturally the Cubs will probably lose this series. Kidding. Kind of.

  • awesome

    let’s not take any chances with our super star, put him on the 60 day DL.

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Bring Jackson up, healthy or not, and put him on the bench. The fewer ABs, the better.

  • http://Bleachernation Bric

    He’ll be brought up soon, as soon as Hendry’s fired, which will be before July.
    If the early run support and little in the late innings tells us anything, it’s that: A) older players like Pena, Sori, Ramirez, and Byrd feel secure in hitting a few early knocks so their names won’t get singled out and they can justify they’re 5 mil plus a piece, B) They don’t have the strength or determination to play hard past the 5th inning, and C) they know they’re already 7 1/2 back in May and have dinner reservations at 7:00 (they want to celebrate Memorial Day too, right).
    So, yes, Jackson will be up soon because I think Ricketts is about to throw in the towel on Hendry. Only a fool of an owner wouldn’t notice there was a bunch of empty seats in the park on Memorial Day.

    • Ace

      But I think he fears those empty seats would only get worse without the “name” players on the field (which, I know, folks like you and me think that’s crazy).

  • Cheryl

    What does he fear most – the assurance of more empty seats if things continue as is, or the chance that the younger players may not have enough name recognition to draw people? He already knows what the trend is in terms of the present club. He has nothing to lose by taking a chance on the younger ones, that is if Quade and Hendry are gone. Quade will do everything he can to play the veterans.

    • Ace

      Exactly – Quade wants to win right now to save his job, not develop prospects.

  • http://BleacherNation Bric

    The only real question is how many mil is he willing to lose while this bad baseball continues? I heard him in the 4th inning as he was talking about contracts coming and going. He seemed pretty confident a lot of money was coming off the books after this year which means (shocker) Fuk, Aram, and all the other non-producers are gone. As a business man he should understand that if revenue centers aren’t producing they get shut down. restaurants close, product lines are discontinued, etc. Translation- these players will be traded as soon as the oportunity presents itself. And Hendry hasn’t made a good deal in three years. So I think Hendry will be gone soon, and all of his useless contratcs with him, for whatever the payout is.

  • coal

    I was there today and it was tough. The ANNOUNCED crowd was 30k. I think you could still buy tickets at the window today. That is incredible. And the Cubs are (how is this legal) selling raffle tickets — vendors walking around selling raffle tickets! I think the Cubs are about to hit the skids big time – people are going to stop coming, young no-names or aging vets.

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