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The Cubs head out to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals, who’ll be having their home opener this series. Why is that significant? Because they’re going to get certain hardware. Right in front of the Cubs’ faces. Sweet.

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 are on a one-game winning streak, and I’m pretty pleased about that. Sure, they’re 2-5 overall, but that’s just a few games under .500, right?

The Cardinals are a mirror image 5-2, but they are on a one-game losing streak. Clearly things are starting to turn.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, April 13 at 2:15 CT on WGN, MLBN.
  • Saturday, April 14 at 12:05 CT on FOX.
  • Sunday, April 15 at 1:15 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.

Cubs

Starters: Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 1.04), Chris Volstad (0-0, 5.40), Paul Maholm (0-1, 13.50)

Lineup:

  1. David DeJesus, RF
  2. Darwin Barney, 2B
  3. Starlin Castro, SS
  4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
  5. Bryan LaHair, 1B
  6. Ian Stewart, 3B
  7. Geovany Soto, C
  8. Marlon Byrd, CF
  9. Pitcher

Cardinals

Starters: Adam Wainwright (0-1, 4.76), Lance Lynn (1-0, 1.35), Jake Westbrook (1-0, 0.00)

Lineup:

  1. Rafael Furcal, SS
  2. Jon Jay, CF
  3. Carlos Beltran, RF
  4. Matt Holliday, LF
  5. David Freese, 3B
  6. Matt Carpenter, 1B
  7. Yadier Molina, C
  8. Daniel Descalso, 2B
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

It’s a small sample size, obviously, but so far so good for Bryan LaHair. He’s going .375/.444/.688 in 18 plate appearances.

It’s hard to see Steve Clevenger not getting another start at some point this weekend. He’s got six hits in nine at bats, three of them doubles. The man he backs up, Geovany Soto, has just three hits and two walks in 19 plate appearances.

Alfonso Soriano is hitting .304 with a .343 OBP, but without any extra base hits, he’s slugging just .304. Don’t look now, but David DeJesus has a .444 OBP.

Marlon Byrd is 0 for his last 19, was pulled for a pinch hitter late on Wednesday, and was benched yesterday in favor of Reed Johnson. I suspect he’ll be back in the starting lineup for two, if not all three, of this series’ games. But the Cubs undoubtedly want to see some improvement in his approach at the plate, even if the results come later.

We get to see Jeff Samardzija try to follow up his dazzling first start, but it’s a tough task, taking down this Cardinals lineup.

The Cardinals have been brilliant both offensively and pitching so far this year. As a team, they’ve got 27 extra base hits in just 7 games, and have scored 37 runs.

David Freese and Rafael Furcal have been killing it so far, sporting lines of .429/.448/.750, and .407/.467/.593, respectively. Freese already has three homers. Seriously, how do the Cardinals keep finding guys like that? Voodoo magic, that’s how.

Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina also have OPS over 1.000 at this point, and the team’s line is an absurd .301/.371/.514.

Lance Berkman is expected to miss this series with a strained calf, which is fine with me.

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.

So, Kate hasn’t done so well for the Cubs. But she’s going to get *one* more chance to hold things together. Maybe the problem is that the previous pictorial representations have been too sexy. So, let’s get her nice and fully clothed. She’s still hot.

For the Cardinals, it occurred to me that model Kelly Brook has never made an appearance in the She-View. Since the Cardinals are the champs (sigh), and Kelly looks good in red, it’s a fit. And it’s a tough match-up for the Cubs.

Versus

  • Robert

    Get out the brooms, boys. I call a Cubbies sweep. Oh, and i do believe if this happens, someone by the name of Brett must shave there head? ;)

  • Fishin Phil

    Cuck the Fardinals!

  • Robert

    I say Cubbies take two of three. we’ll take first two, then the cards salvage the last game.

  • Russell

    If anyone has any insight on my inquiry that would be fantastic! How soon will we be seeing Clevenger playing more regularly. I understand that he is the back up catcher at the moment, but by the way that he has been hitting as apposed to GIO it makes me wonder what the cubs will do about this. Any thoughts?

    • hansman1982

      You’re right, Gio only has 1 single so far this year, but he does have a nice .333 batting aver…ohhh, you meant GEO. Clevenger will play more when GEO is injured or dealt. Until then, he remains the better catcher, despite a 5 game sample size.

    • Cedlandrum

      When people say Geo is struggling they need to go look at the box scores. he had an awful game the other day, but the two days before that he had a game where he was 1-2 with a triple and 2 BB. The next day he was 1-4 with a HR and was robbed on another play. He had 2 – 0fers which early in the season and with a small sample isn’t great for your average.

  • Myles

    Taking Kelly in this one. Maybe reverse-psychology?

    And Russell, Clevenger might get a little more time, but not much. Soto is the starter barring some disaster (either in performance or injury).

    • Russell

      Thank you kindly Myles. Its nice for once to see some young players for the cubs having more than just marginal success.

      *besides Starlin of course.

  • Chad

    First time poster. I enjoy reading the blog daily.

    All of this infatuation with Clevenger has me a little bit worked up (not pointing a finger at you Brett, just cubs fans in general). In my opinion Clevenger is exactly what his title says he is….a back-up catcher. Yes the guy has six hits in 9 tries, thats great; but that is way to small of a sample size for everyone to be crowning him the next great catcher. I could be mistaken but I think at least 4, or maybe 5 of those hits were pitches on the outside corner of the plate that he slapped to left field. I think it is great that he has done this, but pitchers will adjust, and they will adjust quick. I doubt we see many doubles down the left field line in the coming series. Pitchers will start throwing to the inside corner on him, and he will have to pull the ball to survive.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the kid….I think he will probably be a pretty good back-up catcher – but don’t expect him to be making all-star appearances any time soon.

    • DocPWimsey

      “I think it is great that he has done this, but pitchers will adjust, and they will adjust quick.”

      The other factor is that those flares down the opposite field are not something that batters can really control. The old saying “when you are hot, even the bloops drop in” is backwards: if you get a few bloops to drop in, then you get a few extra hits: and the difference between batting 0.250 in a month (meh) and 0.300 in a month (hot!) is about 5 hits….

      We saw the same thing last year with Barney: he got a bunch of bloop and infield hits early in the season, and then “cooled off” when the bloops and grounders were hit a little closer to the infielders.

      • Andrew

        I haven’t been able to watch Clevenger’s games too closely but I remember him hitting all those doubles pretty hard and on a line. To me generally whenever a player gets a line drive that isnt softly hit, its a win for the batter. I think he got a little lucky they ended up being doubles, but I think he is legitmately seeing the ball well. Pitchers may catch up to him and slow him down, but I think he is definitely a quality backup and could deserve some more starts in the future.

    • Cedlandrum

      well it may change, but the reason Clevenger has been such a good hitter is because he sprays the ball all over. He has great wrists and flicks that ball down there. He also turns on inside pitches. I was really impressed with him in Iowa last year because he was doing the exact same thing. He really has an advanced bat for contact. he won’t blast a bunch of homers but he can put it in the gaps.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I pretty much agree with you, Chad. Thanks for the thoughts.

    • hardtop

      im just excited we have a backup catcher that can hit.  im not replacing geo at this point by any means, but im ecstatic about replacing koyie.

      • MaxM1908

        Well said, Hardtop. We should be comparing Clevenger to Hill rather than to Geo. Geo will heat up too. I’m a little more worried about his throws to second than his bat right now. Some of his throws were downright awful.

        • Cedlandrum

          He always seems to struggle at some point during every year with his throwing mechanics. it is a bit weird but he will figure it out.

  • TWC

    Cubie Blues reminded me of this over on the Message Board.  It should get a front page (re-)mention, in light of the first Cardinals series of the season:

    http://www.bleachernation.com/2011/09/30/from-the-message-board-how-im-making-my-son-grow-up-a-cubs-fan/

  • Mike Foster

    Isn’t Furcal eligible for Social Security? or just seems like it.

  • louis

    The Cardinals still take it in their pujols.

  • LWeb23

    So when do the Geovany Soto trade rumors start with this rough start and Clevenger’s hot start? Oops, I just started it. Let the snowball effect take over…..

  • SouthernCub

    GOOD GOD! Kelly Brook, I mean W O W ! ………Oh and, Sunday, April 15 at 1:15 CT on CSN. I hate you CSN

    • TWC

      No kidding.  We’re going to lose the series 8 billion to nothing.

  • hansman1982

    “but David DeJesus has a .444 OBP”

    but, but, but, he is a garbage lead-off hitter! Tony Campana is fast, he should be our leadoff hitter, not this schlub that Theo Dumbassenstein signed.

    • Zogie

      A leadoff hitter needs to get on base. Campana only had a .303 OBP last year. You need to get on base to use that speed. DeJesus. works the count, gets on base, has some speed, a great arm, and plays great defense. So you want Campana who has blinding speed, but nothing much else to offer?

      • Drew

        I hate to speak for Hansman, but I know for certain he was being sarcastic.

        The reason I know this is that he is one of the people who havent over-glorified Campana’s speed and conveniently overlooked the fact that speed is his only ML-caliber tool.

        Bottom line: While your little-league coach may have batted Tony Campana leadoff, anyone with any sense would realize its a terrible idea.

    • Brian

      You had to open the door, didn’t you?

  • Cubmig

    lol…a very “unfair” pic comparison……..one pushes the imagination over the brink and the other “squelches” it……..

    But I did like your “We’re Going Streaking” section. Inverse treatment of stats is like seeing reality through both ends of a telescope…..

  • Frank

    Kelly Brook–oh my lord . . . she’d look good in red, blue, orange, grey, burnt sienna . . .
    You’re right–it’s not Kate’s greatest pic–
    Myles might have something with the reverse psychology angle . . .

  • JulioZuleta

    I really think the female representation of the Cardinals should be a 400 pounder in jorts if we’re being realistic. I found the perfect pic, but unfortunately I’m too computer illiterate to post it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You’ll forgive me if I’m thankful that you weren’t able to figure out how to post it (for FUTURE comments, the way to post images is to be logged in, select the image tag, past in the url for the image, and there you go).

  • hardtop

    i prefer the lingeria to that blue bath towel.  some people are so hot they can make grandma pj’s look good…. kate’s no slouch, but the boobs take it.

    based on the babes, cubs take one from the shitbirds…. im thinking maybe the last game of the series?

  • Papi

    Seems like Kate should have on less clothing than Kelly for us to claim the series

    • Cubs Dude

      I Agree. Kate has too much clothing to make it fair. It’s like the Cubs having to deal with Hendry’s contracts…. Extra baggage.

    • Cubbie Blues

      It’s all about staying classy in front of the douchenozzle mullets (this statement withstanding). Kate brings it everyday.

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  • brian

    soto’s defense is suspect,he is not a clutch hitter.

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