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It’s another Chicago Cubs season, and that means another set of Series Previews throughout the year. 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, expected lineups, etc. That way, if you want to check only one place to get a sense about an upcoming series, or to plan ahead, you’ve got it. Oh, and there will be pictures of beautiful women, too.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs finished Spring Training a game over .500 thanks to a three-game winning streak. I can only assume that the heat will carry forward into the regular season.

The Nats finished the Spring at just 12-17, and with a two-game losing streak. I can only assume that the cool will carry forward into the regular season. I’m not even sure why the teams are playing at all.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Thursday, April 5 at 1:20 CT on WGN.
  • Saturday, April 7 at 12:05 CT on CSN.
  • Sunday, April 8 at 1:20 CT on WGN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but if you want to precise lineup each day, be sure to check that day’s Pre-Gamin’ post.

Cubs

Starters:  Ryan Dempster (0-0, -.–), Matt Garza (0-0, -.–), Jeff Samardzija (0-0, -.–),

Lineup:

  1. DeJesus, RF
  2. Barney, 2B
  3. Castro, SS
  4. LaHair, 1B
  5. Soriano, LF
  6. Stewart, 3B
  7. Byrd, CF
  8. Soto, C
  9. Pitcher

Nationals

Starters: Stephen Strasburg (0-0, -.–), Gio Gonzalez (0-0, -.–), Jordan Zimmermann (0-0, -.–)

Lineup:

  1. Ian Desmond, SS
  2. Danny Espinosa, 2B
  3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
  4. Adam LaRoche, 1B
  5. Jayson Werth, RF
  6. Mark DeRosa, LF
  7. Roger Bernadina, CF
  8. Wilson Ramos, C
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Spring Training was as kind to Cubs’ hitters as it was unkind to Cubs’ pitches, which is pretty standard for the Cactus League.

Darwin Barney, Geovany Soto, and Alfonso Soriano absolutely killed it this Spring. Ian Stewart and Starlin Castro were very good, and Bryan LaHair and Marlon Byrd were fine. Only David DeJesus really struggled this Spring (.220/.324/.322), but theoretically had his swing corrected a little over a week ago. We’ll see how that plays out.

Ryan Dempster was solid this Spring (3.26 ERA in 19.1 innings), but was absolutely brutal last April: in 31 innings over six starts, his ERA was 9.58 and his WHIP was 1.817. Hopefully he gets out to a better start this time around.

And, I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see Jeff Samardzija’s first start.

Former Cub/Superstar/Fan Favorite/AmazingPerfectWunderbar Mark DeRosa should see some time in the outfield for the Nats this series, thanks to an injury or two in the Nats’ outfield. And, for whatever little it’s worth, DeRosa killed it in the Spring, putting up a 1.187 OPS over 35 at bats.

Ryan Zimmerman, recipient of a healthy extension this Winter, rewarded the Nationals, at least in the Spring: in 48 at bats, he had three homers, six doubles, and 10 RBI, while sporting a .354/.411/.667. If he stays healthy, he’s probably the best third baseman, overall, in the Nationals League.

Opening Day starter Stephen Strasburg put up a 4.18 ERA in 23.2 Spring innings, which is actually pretty good. He struck out 17, and walked just six.

The Nats will start the year without closer Drew Storen, without masher Michael Morse, and without center fielder Rick Ankiel, which can only help the Cubs’ chances in this series.

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 have some connection to the team or something like that. It is immature, and the connection to baseball is tenuous at best. These things, I know.

To start the 2012 Chicago Cubs season off on the right foot, I thought they needed to be represented by a woman who had, herself, had the most successful offseason of all supermodels. She graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and was feature in some commercials for a baseball video game (I’d be lying if I said I paid the kind of attention necessary to tell you what game). Yes, I’m talking about the beautiful, ever-present, Kate Upton.

As for the Nationals, since they hail from the nation’s capital, I figured they should be represented by a patriot. But, then I started thinking about the word “patriot,” which made me think of Tom Brady, and then I thought about his wife, Gisele Bundchen. She was, at one time, the “it” girl that Kate Upton is now, so the battle feels even more appropriate.

Who you got?

Versus

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Cubs battling for first today. LET’S GO CUBS

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha, yes – that’ll be mentioned in the Pre-Gamin’.

  • Fishin Phil

    Hello girls! We have missed you.

    Now the season can really begin!

  • http://www.twitter.com/theragingbeard Dustin Barnard

    Kate Upton, fo’ sho. Soriano will be the first Cub to homer today. Cubs win, 6-3.

    -@theragingbeard

    • Papi

      Agree on the score but Castro will homer 1st. Go Cubs Go!

      @CLubey2B

  • Eric

    Note to self – be careful when reading bret’s season previews at work…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, there will never be nudity (always technically SFW), but caution when scrolling is advised (that’s partly why it comes at the very bottom).

    • SouthernCub

      NO KIDDING!!! I mean Kate Upton……..WOOOOOOOO!

    • Rob

      Good advice Eric, will remember that as the season progresses, lots of “tuts” coming from the women in my office.

  • BN Virgin

    We have the better looking model. That means we’re gonna win, right?

  • ISU Birds

    Magic Number for the division-162. Go Cubs!

  • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

    GO CUBS!!

    Have I been holding my breath for the last 5 months? Feels like it.

    And I was a bit worried about the She-view because I wasn’t sure which was which, and the bottom girl was way hotter.

    But I checked it out; we’re all good.

    Here is my opening day Haiku:

    Samardzia starting,
    Lahair gets his shot at first,
    Cubs, Cubs, Cubs: Go Cubs.

  • Kyle

    Blake DeWitt is likely to be our Opening Day 1b now.

  • ferrets_bueller

    It took me a while to realize what was going on with the pitching stats, I was thinking…’wait, why is there a -.– face next to each ERA?’ Lmao.

  • Myles

    Kate Upton in a walk. Get this weak Bundchen out of here

  • Seth

    So I’ll be at the game on Easter Sunday watching Samardzija’s first start. Got some good seats sitting right infront of the cubs bullpen, 1st row. Hoping to talk to some Cub’s bullpen pitchers. (At least the English speaking ones). Let’s go Cubbies!

  • Curt

    Kate upton and god bless America ,go cubs too

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Who is Kate Upton?
    But I’ll take two please…

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Shawn Camp and Joe Mather have been added to the 40-man roster (as expected, Marcos Mateo was placed on the 60-day DL to open up a spot).

    As of this second, Blake DeWitt has not yet been added to the 40-man roster, which is at 40.

  • cubchymyst

    The girls at the bottom were a nice surprise this morning. I’m going to force my students to listen to the game in lab today instead of music. Lets Go Cubs.

    • Swaz46

      I’m just giving my students a test so I can follow the Gamecast. Do you think listening to WGN would be a distraction?

  • Huch

    I’m a loyal Cubs fan, but they better win every game because if Kate Upton is ever replaced- I’m going to be thoroughly disappointed in the team!

  • Chris S

    Kate vs Giselle.. how is this even a contest??

    Kate vs Giselle 10 years ago.. now THAT would be a contest.. :D

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    LaHair is out today, but Jeff Baker is taking his spot, not Blake DeWitt. A sign that DeWitt is somehow not making the roster now, or just a coincidence?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sullivan confirms that DeWitt is still in Chicago, and will be on Opening Day roster. My guess? LaHair is going to the DL, and Campana is going to be added to the 25-man. Question is, where does DeWitt’s 40-man spot come from?

      • Kyle

        Heard a rumor that Concepcion might be put on the 60-day DL for mysterious reasons, just so they can keep him in XST for a few months and clear a 40-man spot. This would, however, start his option clock.

        If Dewitt can’t start against a tough righty over Baker, then what on earth is he doing on this roster?

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          He’s on the 40 man, so an option is used this year regardless, no?

          • Kyle

            Sorry, that was worded poorly.

            Getting put on the 60-day DL to start the season would mean he no longer qualifies for a fourth option year, presuming he goes to Boise.

            • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

              Well that would suck. It’s bad enough he’s on a major league contract.

      • Jay Anderson Jr

        I happy for Campana if this is true. He is a weapon we need. Let’s go Cubs.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    It’s a day like today that reminds me how great it is to be a Cubs fan. And this year is going to be fun, this is a team that will get after it the right way, win or lose. Go get em boys.

  • DamDarDan

    As I STH living in Indianapolis, I’ve got plenty of tickets to sell at or near face value (with exception to Marquee Games). If you are interested in any game(s) please lmk and I will let you know what is available. I’ve already sold about 15% of the games, so there is a small chance that the game you are looking for is already gone. I hold 4 Bleacher seats with VIP entry. Thanks… Go CUBBIES!

    Gotta go with Gisele

    Damon
    317.691.3767 (text or call)
    damdardan@yahoo.com (email

  • Frank

    Ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh Kate . . .
    and Go Cubs!

  • JungleDrew

    Good choice of Kate Upton. She’s from my home town of St. Jospeh, MI which is a Cubs town. So she probably is a Cubs fan like I know the rest of her family is.

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    I’m more of a Vida Guerra or Mehgan Good type of guy, but between these 2, Gisele will look better when they are both old. But considering the game only last for 3 hours, give me Kate.

    • Hansman1982

      Pfft Adriana Lima is a bajillion times hotter than anyone else so there

      • Jay Anderson Jr

        She is pretty high on the list, but Vida’s body gives her the nod over everybody. She has a whole lot of acres in her backyard, if you know what I mean. ;)

      • Jay Anderson Jr

        Also, I have to remove this from the memory before my wife sees it, as I tell her daily, that she’s the hottest girl I know.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Don’t worry about removing the memory, since you don’t actually know her.

  • Dustin S

    Rotoworld saying Baker going over Lahair today due to the back problems. I think I’d rather see Mather over Baker the way he’s been going. Health problems this early (especially back) make me a little nervous, reminds me of Cashner last year. I haven’t been too worried about his back until now with it just being late spring training. Hope he is back in there soon. A Baker/Mather/DeWitt platoon at 1B isn’t what we want for very long.

    • Kyle

      I love Jeff Baker as a lefty-masher.

      But if it’s opening day and he’s already getting a start against a tough righty, we’ve failed in our roster construction.

      • Fishin Phil

        OK gang, that’s it. Kyle says we failed, so let’s wrap this season up and wait for 2013.

        Kyle, do you mind not raining on our parade until maybe the third inning or so?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I could be wrong, but I’m guessing if most teams lost a lefty first baseman right now, the replacement wouldn’t look much better than Baker. Can’t carry two LaHairs or two Carlos Penas on the roster.

        • Theo Epstein

          Baker’s a career .239/.292/.364 against righties. There’s got to be a token lefty on your bench somewhere who can hold his own against right-handed pitchers.

          *oops, forgot to change my name back*

    • ty

      LaHair blames his lower back problems on a daily commute from Surprise Az to Mesa. This is a traffic jam every morning and afternoon that most of us avoid by never seeing the Rangers and Royals who share a newer facility in Surprise. Similar commute would be from Joliet to Loop except at speeds of about 10 mph. He could have stayed with us and just walk across the street. Most Cubs stay within 15 min. of facilities. The regulars do everything to stay off the bus for that trip as it is so miserable. Best of luck to a real good guy anyhow.

    • CubsFanBob

      plus isnt Baker better defensively at 1st than DeWitt / Mather ? Today will be a day where I would take defense over anything else.

      • Theo Epstein

        Yes. Given the roster as it is, Baker is probably our best option.

        The problem is that your lefty backup in the infield is pretty much all-around worthless, and your backup in the corner outfield can’t play first, so that leaves you with a bad option.

        (dang it, I’m Kyle. Why won’t it let me go back to being Kyle? I swear I changed it…)

  • Theo Epstein

    “so let’s wrap this season up and wait for 2013.”

    Waaaay ahead of you.

    • ty

      Two months ago I placed a c note on cubs to win division at great odds. Wife said some friends said bad bet. So I told her to run down to MGM sports and ask for refund. She said she does recall the guys there were very friendly on the day we bet–so she is on her way. to be continued

  • art

    IMO, something with a little meat, so Kate hands down, Gisele is all bones.

    • 162 and 0

      Truer words were never spoken.

  • Karen P

    I MISSED THE SERIES PREVIEW. Also, as a totally, 100% heterosexual female, Gisele allllll the way. Kate may have a huge rack, but she’s got an eighth of the beauty that Gisele does.

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