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The Cubs head down to Miami to take on the newly-minted Miami Marlins, complete with a circus ballpark, circus players, a circus manager (freshly-returned from a suspension), and a circus atmosphere. Too bad the Cubs won’t face Carlos Zambrano, otherwise this thing could get really nuts.

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 dropped the final two games of their series against the Cardinals, which makes their series losses this year a perfect set (series losses to the Nationals, Brewers, and Cardinals). They’ve just got to win that first series to get the ball rolling. Right?

The Marlins just took two of three from the Astros after dropping both games in a two-game set to the Phillies. They’re 4-6 overall, a game better than the Cubs.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Tuesday, April 17 at 6:10 CT on CSN.
  • Wednesday, April 18 at 6:10 CT on WGN.
  • Thursday, April 19 at 11:40 CT on WGN, MLBN.

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: Ryan Dempster (0-1, 1.88), Matt Garza (1-0, 1.23), Jeff Samardzija (2-0, 3.95)

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

Marlins

Starters: Josh Johnson (0-2, 8.38), Mark Buehrle (0-2, 3.65), Ricky Nolasco (1-0, 3.46)

Lineup:

  1. Jose Reyes, SS
  2. Emilio Bonafacio, CF
  3. Hanley Ramirez, 3B
  4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF
  5. Omar Infante, 2B
  6. Logan Morrison, LF
  7. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
  8. John Buck, C
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza have been brilliant through two starts, but Jeff Samardzija could stand to bounce back from a rough-ish outing against the Cardinals.

Starlin Castro has made the much-discussed errors, sure, but he also leads the Cubs in RBI, steals, and batting average. He doesn’t see a lot of pitches or take a lot of walks, but the kid hits. He just hits.

Bryan LaHair continues to hit. He’s got a .348/.423/.696 line so far on the year, but he’s struck out in 10 of his 23 at bats.

Marlon Byrd and Geovany Soto have been awful, but you didn’t need me to tell you that. I expect to see each of them sit at least once this series.

David DeJesus on-base percentage watch: .432. You know what not to do with him.

Omar Infante has been all-universe for the Marlins, leading the team in homers with four, and putting up a .343/.361/.829 line.

Josh Johnson hasn’t been himself so far this year. He’s been healthy (he’s usually not) and kind of crappy (he’s usually not). The Cubs are frequently a soft place to land for guys with early-season struggles. Opposing batters have been hitting .447 against Johnson.

New Marlins closer Heath Bell has had a rough start for the Fish after signing a big-money deal in the offseason. His ERA is pushing 10, and he’s allowed 11 base runners in just three innings of work.

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.

Well, Kate Upton’s time leading the Cubs – for now – has come to a close. A 3-7 start just isn’t going to get the job done no matter how beautiful you are. And, now taking a page out of the if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them book, the Cubs will now be represented by the representative who just crushed them. That is to say, Kelly Brook, who just helped the Cardinals take the Cubs down, gets the job. Treat us well, Kelly.

As for Miami, there are a number of great reps to choose from, given the locale. How about Eva Mendes, who isn’t just a Miami interloper, she’s actually from Miami. Sure. That’ll work.

Versus

  • Fishin Phil

    You missed your opportunity to post a picture of a female clown.

  • Rynomite

    In the series preview against the Cards, the Brook photo was way hotter than the Upton photo. Now the Mendes photo is way hotter than the Brook photo. I must hold you personally responsible when the Cubs drop two of three. It may take some naked from the Cubs rep next series to turn things around. Just sayin’

    • Spencer

      I agree. I also don’t like the idea of cast off Cardinal reps.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I’m always trying to play with the mojo…

        • Cardfan

          you should know not to play with the voodoo…

          With the sheer cheesiness of the Marlins organization and that centerfield atrocity, you should have posted a picture of Tubbs and Crockett in all their 80′s glory.

    • HuskerCub

      I couldn’t agree more. I think it would be hard to find a worse photo of Kelly Brook. Plus I think having her represent the Cubs right after St. Louis seems inherently wrong, like something the Yankees would do. I think the next rep needs to add an element of karma to the equation. How about flying the W-Flag with Win McMurray or a seeking a little help from Hope Dworaczyk.

  • hansman1982

    Eva Mendes is an ugly tramp who dresses like a hobo.

  • JulioZuleta

    Wow, lots of controversy today.

    • Spencer

      it’s more exciting than actually watching the Cubs.

  • florida Al

    Eva Mendez…..hubba hubba. She’s is the cats pajamas!!

  • King Jeff

    I’m going to be at all three of these games. I took off early from school today because I was so excited to go to the game. It’s been almost a year since I last got to watch the Cubs live, so the anticipation is killing me. I’ll be behind the Marlins dugout, probably the guy in the Sandberg jersey yelling at Ozzie Guillen. I also may hurl many insults at Marlon Byrd.

    • Spencer

      How much were tix if you don’t mind me asking?

      • King Jeff

        I got 3 tickets for each of the 3 games for a little over 250, with all the fees and parking included. There were tons of tickets left when I looked yesterday. So much for the new park meaning easy sell outs.

        • Spencer

          9 tickets for 250? behind the dugout? that’s a steal!

          • King Jeff

            We’re a few rows up, but yes it’s a steal. I have a friend who works for a ticket re-seller, so we got in on a package deal that they were selling because we bought tickets for all three games.

            • Spencer

              I wish Wrigley was that cheap!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      We’ll have to get together before Tuesday’s game or after Wednesday’s game. I need to meet the King.

      • King Jeff

        Brett, if you are coming to Miami, we’ll definitely have to get together. I have a feeling you just misunderstood which games I was talking about. Hopefully, I get a high paying job after my externship is over, and I’ll be able to join the crew at Wrigley for a game or two at the end of the season.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Damnit. Yes. I misunderstood because I didn’t read closely. I haz a sad.

          • King Jeff

            I hope your friendship bone is okay. It seems to have gone through some trauma the last few days.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              It’s healing. Multiple breaks will only make it stronger.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    Ummmmm cat’s pajamas are wayyyyyy too much clothing for her!
    On her it should be more like hamster’s pajamas.

  • rcleven

    If we can catch Johnson while he is still down I smell 2 out of 3. Buehrle is very hittable if the Cubs can wait for their pitch. Nolasco is only one I think can give the Cub hitters trouble.

    • King Jeff

      Buehrle is hittable, but the Cubs stink against soft tossing lefties, and Buerhle owns all of the Cubs except for Reed Johnson. I hope the offense gets hot and lights up all three guys, but I think this is going to be a series of pitchers duels. I think all three games are winnable.

      • rcleven

        Been a big fan of Buerhle for years. Seems to get lit up every third or fourth time thru the rotation. Can’t cheer for him this week tho.

      • Joshua Edwards

        I have no statistical evidence but it’s completely true: Cub hitters have twisted their spines in knots trying to hit soft-tossing, shit-shoveling, left-handed, junk-artists since the 80s. I have no clue why.

        I grieved the loss of Jamie Moyer, Ted Lilly, Terry Mulholland and other lefties NOT because the team was losing any talent but because it meant the Cubs were going to have to face them.

        Thank god we signed Paul Maholm. He may not win a game for us but at least we won’t drop two to him this season.

  • Myles

    Yeah, that Mendes picture is way better than the Brook one. Are you sure you’re a Cubs fan? :)

    Optimist’s Club time!

    The Miami Marlins are 2nd to last in pitching SO this year (in the NL). They are 4th from last in the league in WHIP. Basically, they don’t strike you out, which leads to more balls put in play, which leads to more baserunners. It’s up to the Cubs to take advantage of those chances.

  • hardtop

    There might be better pictures of Kelly out there, but I wouldn’t kick her out of bed.  mendes on the other hand, yeah, straight to the carpet.  i like my women to have a shape closer to that of a female than a 12 year old boy.

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    I like my women like I like my coffee. (scores of punch lines follow this)(be creative)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Really pretty, funny, smart, and with an ample bosom.

      Does that work?

    • ferrets_bueller

      Five dollars, and daily?

    • Andrewmoore4isu

      With every meal and in between
      Black
      Piping hot
      In the morning

    • Myles

      My first response is not fit for a family-friendly website.

      Neither is my second.

    • Ron Swanson

      Strong and pungent?

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  • Bric

    Strange occurance involving the “sculpture” and the Marlins’ she view that happened the other day. On Sunday I was watching the Marlins game because the Cubs weren’t on. I saw Infante hit the first home field homerun that activated the sculpture. To me it looks more like a giant pinball machine.

    But anyway, the strangest thing was the telecast was interviewing a Victoria’s Secret model at the time who was standing about 4 feet from where the ball landed. A guy in a red and white striped shirt who was sitting right next to where she was standing caught it off the wall. Right during the live interview he caught it and gave it to her (she gave it back a couple of minutes later). But anyway, if you want to jump on the opposing teams’ mojo, I’m thinking she would be a prime candidate. And she was really hot.

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