The Chicago Cubs keep slapping around would-be playoff entrants, and the Braves are next up for a slappin’.
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 won their fifth series in six tries, the last coming at home against the Cardinals. And it was awesome for so many reasons. One of those five series wins came against the Braves a couple weeks ago.
The Braves have won four in a row, and 13 of 17. They’re still way behind in the NL East, but are still way ahead in the NL Wild Card. Barring a memorable collapse, they’ll make the playoffs. That said, I’m sure they’re not thrilled about playing the Cubs right now.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, August 22 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
- Tuesday, August 23 at 7:05 CT on CSN, MLBN.
- Wednesday, August 24 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
- Thursday, August 25 at 1:20 CT on WGN.
Expected Starters and Lineups
These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded.
Starters: Ryan Dempster (10-8, 4.61), Casey Coleman (2-5, 7.43), Randy Wells (4-4, 5.84), Matt Garza (6-9, 3.62)
- Castro, SS
- Barney, 2B
- Ramirez, 3B
- Pena, 1B
- Byrd, CF
- Soriano, LF
- Soto, C
- Colvin, RF
Starters: Jair Jurrjens (12-5, 2.84), Mike Minor (3-2, 4.26), Derek Lowe (8-11, 4.73), Brandon Beachy (6-2, 3.32)
- Michael Bourn, CF
- Martin Prado, LF
- Brian McCann, C
- Dan Uggla, 2B
- Larry Jones, 3B
- Freddie Freeman, 1B
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Alex Gonzalez, SS
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Ryan Dempster has recorded five straight quality starts, and has a 2.77 ERA in his last four outings.
Aramis Ramirez is back to scorching. He’s on a 10-game hitting streak, during which he’s hitting .487/.511/.846 with four homers and 12 RBI.
Tyler Colvin’s August slash line so far: .220/.264/.480. Thoughts? Mike Quade once again isn’t doing him any favors, but to me, it seems like that’s pretty much what you get with Colvin. He’s a younger, more athletic, left-handed Alfonso Soriano. Make a mistake and he’ll crush it; throw him a breaking ball low and away, and he’ll flail helplessly like a beached dolphin.
Brandon Beachy is emerging as yet another young stud in the Braves’ ranks. He’s 3-0 with a 2.48 ERA in his past six starts.
On the flip side, Jair Jurrjens is just 0-2 with a 6.52 ERA since the All-Star break. For you sabermetricians out there, you’ll note that the advanced statistics predicted a second half regression for Jurrjens.
Craig Kimbrel has a league-leading 39 saves, but I’m still not sure he’s the best reliever on the Braves. I said it last time (and then the announcers said the same thing): watch Jonny Venters’ fastball movement. It’s disgusting. Of course, he’s already thrown 72.2 innings this year, so it might not be disgusting forever.
That whole bullpen is great. Imagine having a bullpen where the middle relieving chump (Scott Linebrink) has a 3.63 ERA.
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.
The Cubs appear to be starting another prolonged winning stretch under a particular woman’s watch. Last time, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley lasted for about a month. This time, Joanna Krupa has made it to her second series. I suppose it’s too early to crown her. But it’s not too early to drool.
As for the Braves, Reese Witherspoon made for a fine representative two weeks ago, so she can stick this time around, too.