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.
Starters: Ryan Dempster (0-0, -.–), Matt Garza (0-0, -.–), Jeff Samardzija (0-0, -.–),
- DeJesus, RF
- Barney, 2B
- Castro, SS
- LaHair, 1B
- Soriano, LF
- Stewart, 3B
- Byrd, CF
- Soto, C
Starters: Stephen Strasburg (0-0, -.–), Gio Gonzalez (0-0, -.–), Jordan Zimmermann (0-0, -.–)
- Ian Desmond, SS
- Danny Espinosa, 2B
- Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
- Adam LaRoche, 1B
- Jayson Werth, RF
- Mark DeRosa, LF
- Roger Bernadina, CF
- Wilson Ramos, C
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.
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?