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The Chicago Cubs open the second half by welcoming the Florida Marlins to Wrigley Field for a four-game set. Each day is another chance to turn it all around. Or so I’ve heard. I think that’s from ‘Vanilla Sky.’ I am all kinds of cool.

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 dropped their first-half-ending series to the Pirates, and stand 18 games below .500, and 12 games out of first in the Central. The Cubs could go on a 25-game win streak and it would be unrealistic to assume they’d be in first place at the end of it. That’s just sad.

It wasn’t so long ago that the Marlins were just a couple games out of first place in the NL East. But a 1-19 start to June – including an 11-game losing streak – crushed them. As it is, they’re in last in the East, and the only team in the division below .500. They’re 14 games out of first (for the record, were the Cubs in the East, they’d be a cool 20.5 games out of first). They did just sweep the Astros, though.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Thursday, July 14 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
  • Friday, July 15 at 1:20 CT on WGN.
  • Saturday, July 16 at 12:05 CT on CSN.
  • Sunday, July 17 at 1:20 CT on CSN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

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

Cubs

Starters: Matt Garza (4-7, 4.26), Ryan Dempster (6-6, 5.01), Carlos Zambrano (6-4, 4.34), Randy Wells (1-3, 6.80)

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

Marlins

Starters: Anibal Sanchez (6-2, 3.58), Rickey Nolasco (6-5, 3.70), TBA, TBA

Lineups:

  1. Emilio Bonafacio, 3B
  2. Omar Infante, 2B
  3. Gabby Sanchez, 1B
  4. Hanley Ramirez, SS
  5. Logan Morrison, LF
  6. Mike Stanton, RF
  7. Mike Cameron, CF
  8. John Buck, C
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Aramis Ramirez – yup – still scorching. I’m going to keep saying it until it isn’t true anymore.

Each of the Cubs’ four starters in this series could use a good second half after a first half that was disappointing for reasons generally unique to each. I’d argue that Randy Wells probably needs a good second half as much as anyone in baseball.

Darwin Barney’s been killing it in his last five games – he’s gone .588/.611/.765. Now, if he could just do that over an entire season, I could probably be sold on him as a long-term starter at second base.

Anibal Sanchez has given up almost two runs per inning in July – of course, for the month and a half before that, he was absolutely brilliant.

Emilio Bonafacio is riding an 11-game hitting streak, and Logan Morrison has 14 RBI in his last 12 games.

Hanley Ramirez is still having a terrible season, by his standards - .242/.337/.370.

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.

Well, the Pirates took out the Cubs using reader Caleb’s suggested hottie, Misa Campo. I don’t know who she is, but I agree, she’s just lovely to look at. So, you know what? The Cubs are taking her. If you can’t beat them, steal their women – that’s what I always say. Well, that is, I used to say it all the time before that three-year prison stretch.

As for the Marlins, they get a gigantic group of bikini-clad women. Because that’s Miami. Do they always stand in circles?

Versus

  • Toosh

    Eye openers!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’ll get you up in the morning.

      • Toosh

        Yes, indeed!

  • Fishin Phil

    With Misa in our corner, I suddenly have hope again!! Or maybe that’s just the Cialis talkinig.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha. Jokes. I get jokes.

  • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

    Sweet!

    Though, of all the pictures out there you pick that one? I’m putting that choice up there with your infatuation for the OPS… “Yeah, I guess it’s okay, but…”

    I like more:

    http://chiefmockeryofficer.blogspot.com/2011/02/crush-of-day-misa-campo.html

    9th one down, in the red.

    Come on Cubs!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I almost picked that one, actually. Thought her face looked too out of focus.

  • CubFan Paul

    yikes!!@Randy wells being the 4th starter ..i think Rodrigo Lopez has earned that honor til Randy ‘gets it together’ ..Wells should be in AAA working out the ‘kinks’, not overworking the bullpen every 5th day

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Lopez is likely to remain the 5th starter.

  • die hard

    going to lose many from your audience if continue to show soft porn …just saying

    • Hogie

      Don’t you think hardcore would be too much?

    • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

      There’s soft porn on this site?

      How come nobody tells me this stuff? Do I have to sign up to see it? Read the site through the lens of my BN decoder ring? DO TELL!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If you can point it out to me, I’ll gladly remove it.

      (“soft porn” is about three steps higher than anything I’d ever post – I keep it safe for work, by traditional Internet standards)

  • Ron

    Can we dance with your dates?

    • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

      Why no, not at all! Go right ahead.

  • willis

    Those are your top 4 starters folks…and not a one under 4.00 ERA. Outstanding.

    Each one of those dudes is pitching above (in a bad way) their career ERAs yet still not a peep about the dumbass pitching coach…interesting.

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