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The parade of good teams continues, as the Atlanta Braves come to Wrigley Field. The Cubs did just take two of three from the Dodgers, though, so maybe this is no big deal.

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 are pictures of beautiful women, too.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs just took two of three from the NL West-leading Dodgers, so I’m pretty sure there’s nothing they can’t do. You’re in trouble, Braves. The Cubs have won seven of twelve.

The Braves are 18-11, a half game back of the Nationals in the NL East, and they just swept the Rockies out of Coors. They’re still in trouble.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, May 7 at 7:05 CT on WCIU.
  • Tuesday, May 8 at 7:05 CT on WGN.
  • Wednesday, May 9 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.

Cubs

Starters: Jeff Samardzija (3-1, 3.41), Ryan Dempster (0-1, 0.95), Paul Maholm (2-2, 6.20)

Lineup:

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

Braves

Starters: Tommy Hanson (3-2, 3.74), Randall Delgado (2-3, 5.14), Tim Hudson (1-0, 6.55)

Lineup:

  1. Michael Bourn, CF
  2. Martin Prado, LF
  3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
  4. Brian McCann, C
  5. Larry Jones, 3B
  6. Dan Uggla, 2B
  7. Jason Heyward, RF
  8. Tyler Pastornicky, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Ryan Dempster has the best ERA in baseball, and has been every inch of ridiculous this year, even after coming back from a quad strain. Paul Maholm is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last three starts. Jeff Samardzija, when he’s on, looks like the best pitcher in baseball. In other words: the Braves are in trouble.

Bryan LaHair has reached base in 24 straight games. No biggy.

Darwin Barney had a nice game last night, all things considered, but he remains mired in a deep slump – he’s hitting just .133/.161/.200 over his last nine games. If Adrian Cardenas or Luis Valbuena is called up soon, I’d expect them to see a start or two this week.

Chipper Jones has gone 9-17 with two homers in his last three games, despite being unspeakably old. Freddie Freeman is batting .364 with six homers and 25 RBI over his last 19 games.

Tim Hudson is making only his second start since coming back from offseason back surgery. In his first, he gave up five first inning runs to the Rockies.

Braves shortstop Tyler Pastornicky is hitting just .259/.302/.370 on the year, but he’s only 22, and he’s playing shortstop. We should probably cut him a break.

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.

There’s no decision here. The Cubs have “not lost” four consecutive series under the beautiful Marisa Miller, so she remains the team’s representative in the She-View. There are many good reasons for the Cubs to win baseball games, but this is certainly one of the better ones. Today, Marisa offers one final reminder that the Braves should watch their back.

So, the whole picking-different-things-that-aren’t-necessarily-hot-chicks approach has been working for the Cubs (the Dodgers did get the very hot Katy Perry, but she had blue hair, so that still counts). I’m not about to change it. The Braves get Atlanta local, and cook especial, Paula Deen. No, she may not be classically hot, but I have no doubt that her food is amazing. That certainly makes her a fair competitor.

Versus

  • CubbieBlue

    Paula Deen is hot. Can we switch her and Marissa Miller?

    • RY34

      switch the outfits and you may sing a different tune, however i know you are kidding or at least i hope you are!

  • hardtop

    Moccasins… the Braves should be shaking in their Moccasins… or is that to political incorrect for BN ;)

    • Another Eric

      I think the Braves themselves have the market cornered on political incorrectness…

      • Diesel

        Except for the fact some wuss decided to take the screaming brave off of their retro uniforms. Basically taking away from the teams history because they are afraid of offending someone. Give me a break.

        • hansman1982

          If I remember right there was a rash of lawsuits 10-ish years ago with these teams. Frankly, the Indians are one group of people I don’t mind doing a little extra for. We did kind of screw them over royally.

    • Ian Afterbirth

      It depends on what tribe the Braves are from.

  • hardtop

    Curious: What was barney hitting in the two hole before campana slid in there and blake dewitt started getting starts. seems to me he was doing ok batting behind the jesus. i personally would like to see him back there… just to see what happens. Tony C is fun to watch when he’s on the bases, but i think he’d be just as effective, if not more so, batting in front of the pitcher.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Barney was hitting a 0.279/0.329/0.382 line.  A 0.710 OPS is pretty dismal for your #2 hitter (although the average in the NL is only 0.725 so far this year: but that will increase.)  Campana is actually doing a bit worse, owing to his perversely low slugging (his OBP is higher!).  In some ways, they would do best to bat #7 & #8: Campana’s speed is more valuable in front of a guy who will hit only singles than it is in front of Castro or LaHair.

      • Drew

        So, if you have a lineup featuring Cardenas, Castillo, and Campana, where do each of them hit? Do you go – Castillo, Campana, Cardenas (6-8)?

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Looking at Cardenas’ numbers, I’d be tempted to bat him #2.  After all, it looks like looks like he gets on base frequently.  (As has come up, I think that the #2/#3 paradigm is backwards, so I’d really bat Castro 2nd and Cardenas #3: but I don’t think that is in Sveum’s playbook!).

          Castillo has shown great power but low OBP in the minors.  So, I’d toy with 2 ideas: 1) Castillo, Campanas, Barney, Pitcher; and, 2) Campanas, Barney, Castillo, Pitcher.  I suspect that the former would generate more runs: that would give Castillo more HR opportunities.  But it would be fun to play with the projections.

    • hansman1982

      dang slow reaction time…

      Doc,
      Not sure what you are referencing to but I guess if I were to build a lineup here would be my primary stats to look at:

      OBP
      Doubles (if equal to someone else then LH, then # of pitches seen, then K rate)
      Doubles + Homers (trade off a couple homers for more doubles)
      Homers
      Doubles + Homers (essentially your second #3 hitter)
      Doubles
      OBP
      OBP

      On an AL team I would shift everyone up 2.

    • Ian Afterbirth

      Campana should not be hitting in front of the pitcher because you want him in sacrifice bunt situations. When a guy is on first or second and Campana bunts the worst thing that will happen is he’ll sacrifice the runner over. The best would be an inside the park homer.

      • hardtop

        yeah, i get the traditional appraoch. im just saying if he gets on, and the pitcher is in a bunt situation, he is likely to move up, and/or advance via steal even if the pitcher doesnt get a bunt down etc. i just dont like him in the 2 hole as much as i like barney but you can skin the cat any which way.

        … as long as it isnt wearing pajamas.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Good offenses do not have position players lay down sacrifice bunts unless it’s going to advance the game-ending run.  If a position player is so bad that you think of him in terms of “productive outs” (see oxymoron), then you really are thinking of him in terms of someone who should be replaced.

        Campana’s one weapon is speed.  Speed is largely wasted in front of good hitters.  Where it can be helpful is in front of low slugging, low OBP guys (e.g., pitchers, Barney, etc.)  That is, a stolen base in front of a Darwin Barney or Ryan Dempster does much more to improve scoring chances than does a stolen base in front of Starlin Castro or Brian LaHair.

  • hansman1982

    “In other words: the Braves are in trouble.”

    In other words: the Cubs starters are about to lay giant turds all over the mound.

    I bet if Paula Deen wasn’t on a cooking show her hair would be blue…

  • MaxM1908

    I see what you did there with Marissa Miller. She’s literally shaking her tail-feather, an allusion to the classic scene from Blues Brothers featuring Ray Charles and Chicago dancers. Go Cubs! Sweep the Braves!

  • Diesel

    I hate the Braves

  • calicubsfan007

    I haven’t been this excited to watch a Cubs game in such a long time. Everything is coming together at the right time. I’m sure Cardenas will be starting soon enough, Sveum just wants him to get used the bigs without feeling overwhelmed.

  • ibcnu2222 (John)

    Pastornicky is a great name.

    • Another Eric

      I wonder if he’s very persnickety…

    • ibcnu2222 (John)

      I bet he is religious.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

    I can’t wait to see what happens when they call up Rizzo. I’d love to see Soriano traded, but LaHair has more trade value.

    vs RHP – vs LHP
    RF DeJesus – RF DeJesus
    CF Campana – CF Johnson
    SS Castro – SS Castro
    LF LaHair – 1B LaHair
    1B Rizzo – LF Soriano
    C Clevenger – C Castillo
    3B Stewart – 3B Mather
    2B Cardenas – 2B Barney

    • WGNstatic

      LaHair certainly has more trade value than Soriano.

      That said, my fear is that their will be a sizable gap between the trade value of LaHair and his actual value. If that is true, it will be pretty hard to get fair value for LaHair in a trade.

      • Ivy Walls

        Foolish to trade a 1.300 OPS hitter—-period. The idea on Soriano is he will be released, when is more like the question and possibly when Rizzo is recalled sometime in early July.

        Putting LaHair in LF if he keeps hitting above 1.000 OPS is much like putting Ramirez or Stargell out there.

        • Drew

          I get what you’re saying, but the point is to find a players ceiling and whether or not that ceiling will net you a future gain in terms of talent. If all signs point to the former, you make the trade. If not, hang on to him and let him play the OF.

          For me, the likelyhood of him continuing to produce at even close to this level is small. That, coupled with Rizzo almost ready to take over makes me inclined to believe if the right deal comes along, they should jump on it.

          In any aspect of life, its tough to sell high. You may make a mistake, but its just as bad to hang on to a guy like him only to see him struggle and lose all potential trade value.

  • JungleDrew

    Well before we start throwing Cardenas all over the line up lets remember, he’s still not the starter. Until Stewart is back from the flu I assume him and Super Joe will be splitting 3rd duties. Campana is my pick for the most center starts. And i would have to think soto hasn’t actually lost his role yet. So here goes

    1. Campana CF (he’s getting on and stealing)
    2. Barney 2B (welcome home to the 2 hole)
    3. Castro SS (He’s been awesome in the the 3 hole… lol… 3 hole)
    4. LaHair 1B (He’s been better in the four hole… lol… 3 hole)
    5. Soriano LF (for now now one really better, but if Castillo starts, I’d say they flip spots)
    6. DeJesus RF ( He needs some time in the 6 spot, I think it would do him good)
    7. Soto C (I like Soto, I really hope this is a better season for him)
    8. 3rd Baseman (Uproven, in fact keep stewart there when he’s healthy)
    9. Pitcher (did Samard?#8 really get a pinch hit appearance last night?)

    Now if we’re talking about my hopes for the future of the team by the end of this year….

    1. Brett Jackson RF
    2. Tony Campana CF
    3. Castro SS
    4. LaHair LF
    5. Rizzo 1B
    6. Castillo/Clevenger
    7. Vitters 3B
    8. ? 2B (I love Charles Gumble (…wait for it), but there is a good chance with all of the mid infielders he will be out, but whomever shall cast him down shall be stuck here, cause none of them will be a better fit elsewhere)
    9. Pitcher

    Well the current is waht matters… I know we’re in a building process and anyone of worth is a likely choice for trade now or extension for later. Im really just hoping our team Under the guidance or our beautiful manager Marisa Miller the cubs pull off a surprise season like the d-backs last year… who knows with that extra wild card anything could happen…

    • Ivy Walls

      Ironically I think DeJesus is also traded in mid-season to make room for B Jackson and because he would have good value to a team that needs a very capable OF’er who is relatively inexpensive. Campana seems to be nailing down his role.

      Only 47 PA’s but he has a plus .400 BABIP and plus.380 OBP both very good. In 14 games he has scored 7 runs, He also is hitting the ball with more authority.

      The big question would be whether LaHair could play an adaquate enough LF though I think hitting over 1.000 OPS will provide plenty of forgiveness.

      Not sure about Vitters, he might be a RH version of DeWitt.

    • http://justinjabs.com/blog Justin Jabs

      Samardzija got a pinch hit appearance because the bats on the bench were short-handed due to the DeWitt DFA and Wood callup. Baker was the only one left, who was originally in the on-deck circle, but was replaced with Shark because (I assume) Shark can bunt better in that 1st & 2nd no out situation…or at least that’s the logic I see.

  • Patrick

    I love “Larry Jones” in the line-up feature.

  • Idaho Razorback

    It’s Larry Wayne Jones. I guess if your middle name is Wayne you’re either a serial killer or a HOF’er. Great photo of Paula Dean. I love me some cougar!

  • Rian

    OT: Does Cole Hamels admitting he hit Harper on purpose the other night make you more or less interested in him joining the Cubs once he hits free agency?

    • Cubbie Blues

      The fact that he hit him on purpose makes me like him a little better.

      The fact that he said that he hit him on purpose brings it back to where I was before (still kind of liked it though).

    • Ogyu

      Less interested. Cubs should want players who are focused on taking care of business, not engaging in childish nonsense.

    • Rob

      I would love to have him on the Cubs. These things happen often; it’s about teaching respect for the game. Usually players aren’t so open about doing it, but it should be a learning experience to Harper, not Hamels. The book on Harper has made him seem too big for his britches, and he needs to realize he’s not king until he proves it. I think it was as much about Hamels saying, “You and the Nats haven’t proven anything until you take the division crown from my guys.”

      The pitcher-as-bulldog approach may seem overly macho and out of step, but intimidation plays a huge part in competition. I’ve mentioned it here before, but I recently read The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime (two colons in the title signify quality) by Jason Turbow and Michael Duca. It’s very enlightening about how players and managers think about the game, respect, and various other things.

    • Drew

      Hitting a guy (although most of the time for a better reason) is and always will be a part of the game, but I’m not sure why you’d admit to it.

    • hardtop

      less, and then even less when he tried to explain it as “old school”
      old school? pitch nine fucking innings on a few days rest, and then you can act “old school”. if i was harper i’d schtupp his wife (cause you know she would do it) and crack his jaw.

      • Mrp

        You never know, he might have gotten Ventura’d.

    • Jim L.

      More, because when Matt Holliday intentionally slides into a Cubs fielder, we can count on Hamels plunking him when he faces him.

      • hardtop

        hah! god, quade missed the f’ing boat on that one. what a world class weenie. im looking at dale sveum and im thinking holiday gets plunked under this regime. (im not sveums biggest fan, but i think he’d turn a pitcher loose in that situation). you’re right though, our pitchers should have taken it into their own hands.
        yes, casual viewer, i am on both sides of the fence on this issue. you dont throw at bryce harper just because he has a douchey faux-hawk-mullet hybrid (you can bitch slap him in the parking lot for that after the game). you DO throw at matt holiday for intentionally trying to injure your 21 year old all start shortstop. if bud selig were roger godell, matt holiday would be jonathan vilma…. take a seat dipshit

    • Jay Anderson Jr

      Less. First off, if you are going to do it, you gotta make sure he doesn’t score. Second, its like I said about Baez, if you don’t like him showing you up or getting attention, then get him out. Hamels just looked jealous. If he over hyped, then you should have no problem getting him out, right.

    • rcleven

      MLB ‏ @MLB

      BREAKING: Phillies LHP Cole Hamels suspended 5 games and fined for intentionally throwing at Nationals OF Bryce Harper.
      Retweeted by Ken Rosenthal

      Stupid. Not for doing it but for admitting it.

      • TonyP

        That will teach him,  your start is pushed back 1 day.

        • Chris

          i think the phillies are off on thursday, so i don’t think that will really do much in the way of “punishing” hamels.

          • hansman1982

            the morons on Sirius radio were bellyaching he was going to miss a start. I guess there is a reason there are a few failed GM’s that are broadcasting on their now. Hello Hamels going on 6 days rest…dumbasses.

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Paula is a gilf

  • mike foster

    You admit it because you want the batters to read it.

  • PastorJeff

    How is Paul Maholm 3-0 in his last three starts if he is only 2-2 on the season? Something doesn’t add up there. LOL! Cubs.com lists him as 3-2 with a 5.13 ERA on the season.

    • Mrp

      Are you related to Pastornicky?

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Hitting a rookie because he gets too much media attention has always been going on?
    As mentioned at Hardball Talk, I don’t think Cole Hamels purposefully beaned Yonder Alonso or any other number of rookies this year.

    • Drew

      Actually, even though that is what he did, I was referencing hitting batters in general –

      “Hitting a guy (although most of the time for a better reason) is and always will be a part of the game, but I’m not sure why you’d admit to it”.

      It’s a non-issue for me. Hopefully, you have a good reason, but in the end the guy goes to 1st regardless

      • Chris

        i think a good deal of the hamels/harper “soap opera” is a bit of a philly response to all the b/s that the nats wanted to pull in order to keep phillies fans from coming to the game. it seems like more of a “know your place in the division” kind of thing . . . a little reminder that the nats, as an organization shouldn’t forget that they play in a pretty competitive division and if harper is going to be the face of the franchise, why not remind him personally.

  • rcleven

    #Cubs lineup vs. @Braves 5/7: DeJesus RF, Campana CF, Castro SS, LaHair 1B, Stewart 3B, Johnson LF, Barney 2B, Soto C, Samardzija P

    Reply
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    From Cubs Twitter

  • stewwart the joke of baseball.

    When do the Cubs give up on the joke of baseball ? he has the flu – he has wrist problems he can barely hit a ball to the outfield if homeplate was secondbase. Who did we give up again to get this super third baseman ? at this point in the season Dewitt is an upgrade

    • Cubs505050

      Do you watch the Cubs play. Stewart is hitting real well. He has been very unlucky. Plus he had a key base hit yesterday. Please don’t comment if you don’t know what your talking about. Also look at stats like BABIP.

    • MaxM1908

      Wow, I could not disagree with you more. “he can barely hit a ball to the outfield if homeplate was secondbase.” You really do not watch the games. I can’t count the number of times Stewart has hit a scorcher line drive that was miraculously caught by the opposing team, whether it be a luckily positioned outfielder or deep playing infielder. He hit a line drive home run for crying out loud. Right now, I’d say he ranks third or fourth in the lineup for power behind LaHair, Soriano, and possibly Soto. But, unlike Soto and Soriano, he’s actually had some results. I have a feeling his bat will heat up soon. His BABIP can’t stay abnormally low forever. And, although he’ll probably never hit for avg, his defense is a very positive addition to the infield.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Actually, Soto has been even more snake-bitten by low BABiP than has Stewart, which is saying something; at this point, the amount of snake-biting would be lethal even coming from garter snakes!

        • MaxM1908

          Agreed. I really hope for Soto to come out of the slump. But, there’s just something about Soto’s approach at the plate this year which has me thinking he’s less of an asset than Stewart. My impression of him is based on three pitch strikeouts and a number of GIDPs. I know his power is still there and he just needs to find his groove at the plate, but I feel more comfortable when Stewart is batting.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Soto’s K’s (15 in 77 PA’s) is right in line with his career average of 23%.  Indeed, he’s even 2 or 3 K’s shy of where he usually would be!  And he’ll always hit into a lot of double plays: he’s slow and he hits the ball hard.  What probably makes him a slightly greater asset than Stewart is not the way we feel when either one is batting, but the value relative to other 3Bmen and catchers.  It is simply tougher to get a catcher who can slug and draw walks than it is to get a 3Bman who can do so.  (This is not to say that it’s easy to get either of these commodities!)  So, over a whole season, the Cubs will (probably) get greater offensive production from Soto relative to their catcher than they will from Stewart relative to their 3BMan.

  • Bret Epic

    Hey Brett you gonna be at the game tonight? If not, look out for a skinny white kid in a plaid shirt with short spikey black hair and a cute blonde with him in the bleachers. Most likely the LF bleachers, but if I end up elsewhere, i’ll post before the game starts. Getting tickets just before the game, on my way to Wrigley now. I like tonights line up. I was originally going to go Saturday, but I dislike Volstead a great deal, so I’m going today instead.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I won’t be there, but I’ll look for ya. Enjoy it.

      • Bret Epic

        Hopefully I catch a blast from Campana lol. I’ll be happy as long as we win and Sveum shows some sort of positive emotion in the post game interview.

  • Brian

    Stewart has put up a .389/.476/.611 slash line in the last week and is over the mendoza line. He also looked locked in during that late inning PH performance last night which resulted in a base hit. I’m not confident that he is the long term answer at 3B, but hopefully he will provide occasional hot streaks with great defense (save for the crucial error during the Marmol meltdown last week) for the remainder of his time here. I would rather see him than any combination of Cardenas, Mather, Baker, Vitters, Barney, Junior Lake, or anyone else the Cubs could trot out at 3B.

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  • die hard

    seeing Marlon Byrd being thrown out at the plate in extras the other night confirms why we should release Soriano…Both are over the hill and the team is better off without them…are the Cubs sacrificing the morale of the other 24 to justify the mistake of paying too much for Sori? …If rebuilding for the future means moving on from the past then Sori, like Byrd, has got to go….ASAP

    • TWC

      Oh, jeebus, I just rolled my eyes so hard I did a backflip in my chair!

    • Rick Vaughn

      I agree with cutting Soriano loose. But what does it have to do with Marlon Byrd being thrown out at the plate?

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