The Chicago Cubs are bookending the NL East right now, having just played the still-pretty-good bottom-dwellers (the Marlins), and now playing the all-kinds-of-crazy-good first place team (the Phillies).
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 lost three of four to the Fish, and stand a season-low 20 games under .500. But, as Mike Quade reminded us on Friday, now is not the time for bold changes.
The Phillies have a 3.5 game lead in the NL East, and have won seven straight series. The Cubs haven’t won a series in their last eight tries. Just think about that stark disparity for a moment.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, July 18 at 7:05 CT on WCIU.
- Tuesday, July 19 at 7:05 CT on CSN, MLBN.
- Wednesday, July 20 at 1:20 CT on CSN.
Expected Starters and Lineups
These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded.
Starters: Rodrigo Lopez (1-2, 4.02), Matt Garza (4-7, 3.97), Ryan Dempster (7-6, 4.68)
- Fukudome, RF
- Castro, SS
- Ramirez, 3B
- Pena, 1B
- Byrd, CF
- Soriano, LF
- Soto, C
- Barney, 2B
Starters: Roy Halladay (11-3, 2.45), Cliff Lee (9-6, 2.82), Vance Worley (5-1, 2.15)
- Jimmy Rollins, SS
- Michael Martinez, 3B
- Chase Utley, 2B
- Ryan Howard, 1B
- Raul Ibanez, LF
- Carlos Ruiz, C
- Dominic Brown, RF
- John Mayberry, Jr., CF
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Rodrigo Lopez, in his last three starts, is 1-1 with a 2.04 ERA. So, um, trade him?
Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood have been abysmal in July, but you already knew that.
Starlin Castro has quietly dropped his 2011 OPS below his 2010 mark. That’s not good.
When you’re facing Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee in a series, and neither of them has the best ERA you’ll face, you’re in trouble.
Which reminds me, who the hell is Vance Worley? As if the Phillies of all teams need a rookie to step up and be a dominant starting pitcher. I’m just saying, nobody would complain if their fifth starter looked a bit more like the Cubs’ fifth starter. Or fourth starter. Or third starter. Or second starter.
Speaking, though, of Cliff Lee – did you know that the Cubs were the only team to score a run off of him in June? Just one run, mind you.
Ryan Howard has an 18-game hitting streak at Wrigley Field, and, if the wind is blowing out this week like it was yesterday, I’m putting the over/under on Howard bombs at 12.
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, Misa Campo – still don’t know who she is – didn’t exactly do much for the Cubs. She was lovely looking and all that, but the Cubs didn’t, you know, win. It’s been a problem for most of the team’s representatives this year. I’m starting to think maybe the problem is the Cubs…
How about Alex Morgan for the Cubs? It was a solid World Cup performance for the U.S. Women’s Team, and Morgan scored the first goal yesterday. But then the U.S. team lost, which is what made her an appropriate representative for the Cubs.
As for the Phillies, they get Kaitlin Olson. She’s the woman on ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.’ So, yeah. There are those dots connected for you.