The Cubs come back to Chicago after an ugly road trip, the end of which just saw them get swept in Miami. Being swept in the new Marlins Park has the same feel of getting swept at Minute Maid Park in Houston. You already feel silly playing in such a place, but then to get slapped around while doing it? Humiliating.
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 were swept by the Marlins after losing the final two games in St. Louis, which makes for a five-game losing streak. The team is 3-10, which makes last year’s frustrating 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9, 10-10 start seem much less frustrating. In fact, it looks like a dream right now. The Cubs would have to win seven in a row to get to 10-10. Ugh.
The Reds are 5-8 on the year after losing three straight series (two to the Cardinals, one to the Nationals). At least they’re losing to the same teams as the Cubs. Well, except for that series win the Reds took from the Marlins to start the year.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Friday, April 20 at 1:20 CT on CSN, MLBN.
- Saturday, April 21 at 12:05 CT on WGN.
- Sunday, April 22 at 1:20 CT on WGN.
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 (0-1, 4.91), Paul Maholm (0-2, 13.50), Ryan Dempster (0-1, 1.33)
- David DeJesus, RF
- Darwin Barney, 2B
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Alfonso Soriano, LF
- Bryan LaHair, 1B
- Ian Stewart, 3B
- Geovany Soto, C
- Marlon Byrd, CF
Starters: Homer Bailey (0-2, 5.40), Mike Leake (0-1, 5.84), Johnny Cueto (1-0, 1.89)
- Zack Cozart, SS
- Drew Stubbs, CF
- Joey Votto, 1B
- Brandon Phillips, 2B
- Jay Bruce, RF
- Scott Rolen, 3B
- Ryan Ludwick, LF
- Ryan Hanigan, C
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
The Cubs are averaging two runs a game in their five recent losses, so it’s easy to believe that hardly any Cubs have had a good offensive stretch recently. Darwin Barney had a nice series in Florida, going .385/.385/.538 over the three-game stretch.
Bryan LaHair continues to hit, too. His line on the young season is .357/.455/.679 in 33 plate appearances. He’s struck out in one third of those plate appearances, but, so far, it hasn’t been an issue.
Paul Maholm is still looking for his first non-horrible start on the year, and the Reds might be the right team. With a couple of the biggest bats on the team coming from the left side (Votto, Bruce), maybe Maholm will be able to avoid big damage.
Byrd Watching: .075/.159/.075.
Young shortstop Zack Cozart has been pacing the Reds, hitting .286/.352/.469. Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips have been at the other end, with a rough start each, hitting just .216/.236/.431 and .235/.257/.353, respectively.
Johnny Cueto continues the transformation he started last year, and looks more and more like a true ace with each start. That Sunday match-up between him and Ryan Dempster could be a great one.
Sean Marshall returns to Wrigley Field, and I’d guess there are zero boos when he first takes the field (except for the fact that it would mean the Cubs are probably losing).
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.
Ok, so, the whole using-the-last-opponent’s-rep was a total disaster. I thought maybe there would be some reverse mojo there, but I was clearly wrong. We need to get back to basics with the Cubs scrambling for a win. We need to get back to the start. The woman who started it all. The still-gorgeous Marisa Miller, the Cubs’ first rep ever (and only rep for a couple years). Help us, Marisa. You’re our only hope.
The Reds pretty much always get a redhead as their rep, because, well, I’m not that clever. How about Hayley Williams from Paramore? She’s fairly pretty, and adding music to the story makes her more attractive in my book.
I think the Cubs can win this one.