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 legitimately one of the hottest teams in baseball, having won 9 of 11, and three straight series.
The Braves have won four straight, and a slightly less impressive 9 of 12. They are 8.5 back in the NL East, but lead in the Wild Card by a full five games.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Friday, August 12 at 6:35 CT on CSN.
- Saturday, August 13 at 6:10 CT on WGN.
- Sunday, August 14 at 12:35 CT on WGN.
Expected Starters and Lineups
These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded.
Starters: Carlos Zambrano (9-6, 4.46), Randy Wells (3-4, 6.05), Matt Garza (5-9, 3.81)
- Castro, SS
- Barney, 2B
- Ramirez, 3B
- Pena, 1B
- Byrd, CF
- Soto, C
- Soriano, LF
- Colvin, RF (you know, maybe)
Starters: Mike Minor (1-2, 4.85), Derek Lowe (7-10, 4.78), Brandon Beachy (5-2, 3.43)
- Michael Bourn, CF
- Martin Prado, LF
- Freddie Freeman, 1B
- Dan Uggla, 2B
- Larry Jones, 3B
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Alex Gonzalez, SS
- David Ross, C
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Despite an 0-fer that ended a nice August hitting streak, Starlin Castro is still going .422/.447/.667 for the month.
I hate to seem like I’m beating up on the guy, but I think it’s important to reshape peoples’ perceptions of Darwin Barney as this sure-thing, young-talent, locked-in-starter at second base. He has ridden an irrational wave of exuberance all year because (1) he wasn’t expected to win the starting job, (2) he had an almost historically-great April, and (3) he plays the game with passion and intelligence. But, I assure you, the wave is irrational: since May 1, Barney is hitting an abysmal .270/.308/.329, making him one of the worst regulars in baseball.
Obviously the guy to watch on the Braves’ side is Dan Uggla. He was hitting under .200 when he started his current 31-game hitting streak, which means that Tyler Colvin is going to now hit in 40-some straight games to end the year. Well, or he would, if he actually got starts.
Mike Minor has been up and down four times this year, and is filling in for Tommy Hanson (though he was originally going to be filling in for Jair Jurrjens – must be nice to have pitching depth, eh?).
The Braves’ bullpen remains disgustingly absurd, with three guys – Eric O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters, and Craig Kimbrel – with ERAs under 1.90. By the way, assuming he makes an appearance, watch Venters’ fastball. The kind of downward movement he gets on that thing despite throwing it in the upper 90s is a thing of beauty. Well, if you’re a Braves fan, anyway.
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.
It remains impossible to change the Cubs’ current rep, Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (had you told me in June that the same rep would last five series, I never would have believed it – or, more accurately, I would have assumed I found someone I liked, and was obstinately trotting her out regardless of performance, not unlike the Cubs and James Russell as a starter).
Under her watch, the Cubs put together their first three-game winning streak of the year. And, after a tiny, little five-game losing streak, the Cubs swept a four game series in Pittsburgh, and then won another two series on top of it.
As for the Braves, since Atlanta is the de facto capital of the South, how about a nice Southern girl? Reese Witherspoon it is. To me, she’s about as “pretty” as it gets.