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It wasn’t completely unrealistic that the Pirates would be better than the Cubs in 2011 when the season broke. But 10-some games better by the All-Star break?

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 are coming off an incredible comeback in Washington, winning after being down 8-0. Some other games happened before that one, but I’m not entirely sure of the outcome. I can only assume the Cubs went about .700 in them.

The Pittsburgh Pirates. Are. One! Game. Out of first place in the NL Central. They are three games over .500, and haven’t lost a series since mid-June.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, July 8 at 6:05 CT on CSN.
  • Saturday, July 9 at 6:05 CT on WGN.
  • Sunday, July 10 at 12:35 CT on WGN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

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

Cubs

Starters: Rodrigo Lopez (1-2, 3.91), Ryan Dempster (5-6, 4.99), Ramon Ortiz (0-1, 3.00)

Lineup:

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

Pirates

Starters: James McDonald (5-4, 4.40), Kevin Correia (11-6, 3.74), Paul Maholm (5-9, 3.08)

Lineups:

  1. Alex Pressley, LF
  2. Chase D’Arnaud, SS
  3. Garrett Jones, RF
  4. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  5. Neil Walker, 2B
  6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
  7. Brandon Wood, 3B
  8. Michael McKenry, C
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Aramis Ramirez remains scorching. In the last two weeks, Ramirez has a mind-boggling .400/.443/.945 line, with nine(!!!) homers and 16 RBI.

Starlin Castro has struggled over the last couple weeks, but he hasn’t been helped by opposing defenses. How many sure hits has he had taken away in the last week alone? Four? Five? More?

Rodrigo Lopez and Ramon Ortiz continue the fill-in wundertoor for the Cubs. Now that Ryan Dempster – who is expected to return in this series – has missed a start, we can say that every single member of the Cubs’ opening day rotation has been hurt. We’re not even to the All-Star break yet.

The Pirates have a good rotation, especially when compared to last year. How much better? This series, they’re trying to top their starter win total from *all of last season.*

They still don’t do much with the bat, as the Pirates rank in the lower third of the league in almost every major offensive category. The Cubs’ pitchers usually help with those numbers, though.

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.

Ok, ok. I get it. It’s time to let Erin Heatherton go, however attached I may be. The Cubs had a huge comeback yesterday, but that was only enough to salvage a 1-3 series loss to the Nats. Erin’s stewardship has been weak, to say the least.

Reader hardtop suggested we go with someone a little less girly. A little more harsh. Someone who could beat your ass. Someone with vengeance in her heart.

Challenge accepted. How about five women full of vengeance (and ten little fists of fury)? The Cubs will be represented by the women from ‘Sucker Punch.’

As for the Pirates, they get reader Caleb’s suggestion: Misa Campo. I don’t know who she is, but she’s just lovely to look at. And, given how much better the Pirates are than the Cubs, they probably deserve her more than the Cubs do.

Versus

  • Jim mumford

    Marlon won’t play this series?

  • CapnCub

    Byrd isnt hurt anymore why isnt he in the lineup?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sorry, typo.

      • Jim

        Unacceptable. 100 pushups. Now.

        • hardtop

          cubs pushups? funny thing about cubs pushups: when the cubs started to slide below 500 (took awhile right) and aramis and pena were just swinging at everything (as was soto, soriano, byrd) i decided i would do pushups everytime a cubs batter struck out. Did I think this act of self abuse would somehow find its way into the Cubs subconscious and spur them on to victory? of course i did, im a cubs fan, i believe in farm animal curses i think it was 10 pushups a strikeout. So, I was at work one day, listening to the game while i “worked”… I did so many pushups I thought i was going to puke. anyway, that was a bad idea, and obvioulsy the Cubs ignored my efforts.

          • Laura

            You probably looked like Hercules by the end of the game, though.

            • hardtop

              nope i still looked like fat beer drinking sausage eating slob. but that was the idea… i just use up all my willpower sitting through cubs games so i couldnt make it with the pushup game.

              • CubFan Paul

                lol ..i do the reverse. I take a shot of liquor for EVERY walk the cubs get to celebrate OBP in hopes it leads to runs & wins ..makes the games tolerable

                • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

                  You take a shot for every walk the Cubs take?

                  Jeeeeezus, so what you’re saying is you watch the games sober? Dang.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    umm no. im always drinking during the games & carlos Pena walks alot, Fook not so much now, &Ramy is becoming an OBP monster ..i seriously watch every game (except the WCIU broadcast cuz i dont live in chicago) &take a shot to every walk. Most “fans” dont do the former &couldnt even keep up with the latter

                    • CubFan Paul

                      Cubs hit by pitchers counts as a walk in my book too, so iv taken alot of shots

                    • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

                      Well, up to yesterday, you’re up to 218 Cub shots. You’d be up to 340 if you were drinking every time a Cub pitcher gave one up.

                    • hardtop

                      okay, paul, you are obvisouly one with the cubs so these are questions not criticism: first it seems to me like carlos either strikes out or homers… but my memory is somewhat selective. i’m glad to learn he takes some walks, but lately doesnt is seems like its feast or famine? second, isnt ramis obp up cause he’s hitting the ball? i dont recall him taking enough walks to get someone buzzed (i know he destroyed my triceps that day at work). third, what do you do for a living that you can pound shots daily and, often, do so in the middle of the day? or is this a TIVO drinking game?

                    • CubFan Paul

                      lol TWC, my gf & I only take shots for Cubs players walks.
                      1. Pena either walks, singles, or homers ..as of lately its been homers & strikeouts but his .340 OBP is the real deal
                      2. Ramy was batting .280plus w/ an OBP over .320 before his power surge recently & was getting his fair share of walks
                      3. &finally im a window washer & tivo everygame to watch everyday (which is why im never posting here during the games cuz im behind time)
                      this is my 1st year playing this drinking game & i’ll definitely continue it because we dont walk alot but enough for a shot or two or three or four during any given game

                    • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

                      Paul, I’d watch a game with you in a heartbeat.

                    • oso

                      I play a similar game; I start a six pack in the first inning and finish it sometime before Marmol walks the bases loaded.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I picture Cubs pushups as the kind where you’re up on your knees and just push up a little bit. I can do 100 of those, no problem.

            Probably.

  • Fishin Phil

    Caleb is obviously a man of good taste!

    • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

      I know, right?

  • die hard

    Byrd to Braves for couple of pitchers

  • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

    Brett!!! WTH, man? Do you WANT me to root for the Pirates?

    Seriously- she’s mega hot.

    You’re all welcome.

    (And Laura, how about that for “you guys don’t know how to pick hot women?”)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Once I saw the pictures, I knew I had to get her into the She-View asap. But she didn’t have any “vengeance” pictures. So, it was Pirates for her.

    • Laura

      I didn’t say you couldn’t pick hot women, I said the hotter of the two usually goes to the opposing team. I am, however, strangely on your (guys) same wavelength. When I had the chance to pick, I almost went with the lead ‘SuckerPunch’er. I also thought of a Victoria’s Secret model, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, who apparently saves Chicagoans from impending doom in the ‘Transformers’ movie. So there.
      On another note:
      Dear Cubs,
      Today is my birthday. Would it kill you to take ONE from the Pirates for me? pleeaase?
      (Also, I agree with Caleb on not trading Reed. While I have already been taking my ‘trade’ Hendry sign to games, my dislike of him as GM could be a lot stronger.)

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I always trust Laura’s opinion.

      • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

        Happy Birthday, Laura!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Oh yeah, duh. That, too. Happy birthday, Laura.

        • Laura

          Thank you!

      • http://Bleachernation Bric

        Laura-
        a couple of things: 1.) Happy birthday and 2.) kudos for not be afraid to bring in a negative sign. I went to the Rays- Cards game last Saturday (I’m a die hard Cub fan but Tampa’s only an hour a way) and painted a “LaRussa’s on Steroids” sign but my wife made me leave it in the car because she was afraid we’d get kicked out. (LaRussa’s from Clearwater and the Rays fans are pretty touchy). Anyway, I caved. So congrats on both.

        • pfk

          Wimp!

        • Laura

          To be fair, this has been at Coors Field. I’m don’t believe I would be allowed to bring it into Wrigley. I don’t mean it to be negative so much as I’m trying to spell out my personal fan vote. (I did get reprimanded once after the 7th inning stretch by an official. He told me I couldn’t even hold it in my lap til after the game. To be clear, I NEVER hold signs up during play, and I know the air is thin here, but um, there’s no game being played during the stretch… Anyway the others fans booed him, even the ones wearing purple.)

          • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

            Happy birthday!

            And thanks for backing me up on Reed- he’s the man.

            Hear that, Ace? The man. Not trade material.

            Shhh!! I have spoken.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              You’re just into his sexy chin fuzz.

  • hardtop

    nice dude… now lets kick some ass!
    this is the chick, not everyone is into the mega tattooed but i bet she could kick some ass. she works for a company that make weapons.
    http://www.aacblog.com/wp-content/uploads/RachelWelding600.jpg

    • CubFan Paul

      i looove tattooed chicks & she’s super hot Hardtop ..i couldnt take her home to my mother (unless she’s preggo &then my mom would accept her) but i’d have fun for as long as she’ll have me

  • hardtop

    enhanced lineup:
    the nicknames mike quade should be using:
    1. Ichiban
    2. Dar-Bar
    3. El Comandante
    4. Mr. Hustle (aka Ram Ram)
    5. Fonzarelli
    6. Harvey Birdman
    7. Metro
    8. Ro-Lo

    • hardtop

      ah damn! i missed pena! huh, i actually dont have one for him. maybe just go with kieth morland’s “peeen-yah”

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha, that’s awesome.

    • Joe

      Yay for Japanese!

  • Zach

    The Cubs just released Fernando Perez. Hopefully they bring up Brett Jackson up to Triple-A and Matt Szczur to Double-A.

    • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

      … and he’s looking for someone called “Ace”.

      NOW we know why the sudden “Brett” changeroo!

      • CubFan Paul

        hahahahahahaha “ace” i remember that beef

  • Jason

    I just called the score and asked Steve Stone and Dan Bernstein about Bryan Lehair and they pretty much laughed at me. The kid has 25 homeruns and 25 doubles and has a Batting average above 350 on base percentage is high. They laughed because he is 28/29 years old. Geez

  • Cheryl

    Different thread. Heard Perez was released. Anything up?

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