The Cubs welcome the Milwaukee Brewers to Chicago for a four-game set, which will reunite Aramis Ramirez with his former team, and Dale Sveum with his. It’ll also give Cubs fans their first chance to openly discuss their feelings about Ryan Braun in a mature and thoughtful manner. I’ll be there for Thursday’s game, so I’ll make sure to give Braun hearty, good-spirited applause.
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 salvaged the last game of their opening series against the Nationals, and we’ll all try to pretend that the Cubs are – like many teams in baseball today – just a 1-2 team, and not a team that was within a few outs of being 3-0.
The Brewers also come into the series at 1-2, having dropped the bookends of a three-game series with the Cardinals. The Brewers were a couple games under .500 in the Spring, for whatever that’s worth.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, April 9 at 6:05 CT on ESPN, WCIU.
- Tuesday, April 10 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
- Wednesday, April 11 at 1:20 CT on WGN.
- Thursday, April 12 at 1:20 CT on CSN.
Expected Starters and Lineups
These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.
Starters: Chris Volstad (0-0, -.–), Paul Maholm (0-0, -.–), Ryan Dempster (0-0, 1.17), Matt Garza (0-0, 3.00)
- David DeJesus, RF
- Darwin Barney, 2B
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Bryan LaHair, 1B
- Alfonso Soriano, LF (he might actually be fourth, but I’d rather see the lefties broken up)
- Ian Stewart, 3B
- Marlon Byrd, CF
- Geovany Soto, C
Starters: Shaun Marcum (0-0, -.–), Chris Narveson (0-0, -.–), Yovani Gallardo (0-1, 14.73), Zach Greinke (1-0, 0.00)
- Rickie Weeks, 2B
- Nyjer Morgan, CF
- Ryan Braun, LF
- Aramis Ramirez, 3B
- Corey Hart, RF
- Mat Gamel, 1B
- Alex Gonzalez, SS
- Jonathan Lucroy, C
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Starlin Castro’s consecutive games-reached-based streak is now up to 43, one shy of the longest such Cubs streak since 1928 (Riggs Stephenson for you trivia buffs/really old people). He’s also stolen four bases through three games, which is kind of amazing.
It’s been a rough start for Marlon Byrd, who had just one hit in three games against the Nats (although it was an important hit, a two-out RBI single).
We casually refer to the problems “in the bullpen,” but truly, it’s just Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol. And it’s still early. Here’s hoping the rest of the bullpen gets a chance to shine this week (a very short chance), and, if Wood and Marmol make an appearance or two, may they look like different men.
Aramis Ramirez is back in town after leaving in favor of Milwaukee this offseason. He’s just 1 for 11 on the season, but that one was a homer.
Corey Hart has supplied most of the Brewers’ offense this year after missing the Spring with a knee issue. He’s hit three homers, and has a .444/.545/1.556 line through three games.
And then there’s Ryan Braun. This isn’t just Cubs’ fans’ first look at Braun since his offseason drug test scandal, it’s his first game on the road, period. That means that Cubs fans have the opportunity to set the tone for how he’ll be received by opposing fans all year. My guess? He won’t be received well. Over/under on needles on the field? Five. Over/under on “personal medical issue” signs? Also five.
By the way, I’ll be at Thursday’s game, and I’m pretty excited about the pitching match-up: Matt Garza versus Zach Greinke.
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.
Kate’s reign got off to a mixed start. On the one hand, the Cubs easily could have won all three games against the Nationals. On the other hand, they actually won just once. But I think it’s fair to stick with Kate for at least one more series. Maybe the trick is just finding the right pictorial representation – perhaps a classy picture is in order. And nothing says classy like black and white, right?
For the Brewers, nothing changes from year to year: beautiful woman with beer. A man needs little else – at least according to the picture. The beer appears to be the focus, which may make it harder to choose a winner.