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Well, the last couple series have been a total pile of dog waste, so let’s hope the Astros represent the Cubs’ turnaround point. If nothing else, at least we all get to take in beautiful and historic Minute Maid Park!

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 have lost six in a row, but, thanks to some struggles at the top of the NL Central, they’re still only seven games back (oh what might have been if the Cubs had won, say, four of those six games). The Cubs are a season worst 11 games under .500.

The Cubs are three back of the Astros, who are actually in fourth place in the NL Central at 18-23. They’re a bit cold of late, though, having lost nine of fourteen.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, May 21 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
  • Tuesday, May 22 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
  • Wednesday, May 23 at 7:05 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.

Cubs

Starters: Matt Garza (2-1, 2.58), Travis Wood (0-0, 4.50), Jeff Samardzija (4-2, 3.00)

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. Koyie Hill, C
  9. Pitcher

Astros

Starters: Bud Norris (4-1, 3.58), J.A. Happ (3-3, 4.96), Wandy Rodriguez (3-4, 2.24)

Lineups:

  1. Jose Altuve, 2B
  2. Jed Lowrie, SS
  3. Brian Bogusevic, RF
  4. Carlos Lee, 1B
  5. Travis Buck, LF
  6. Chris Johnson, 3B
  7. Justin Maxwell, CF
  8. Jason Castro, C
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m watching Koyie Hill.

So many Cubs are decided not hot. In his last 14 games, Starlin Castro is going just .241/.246/.328. In his last 10 games, Bryan LaHair is going just .158/.273/.316. Ian Stewart, who didn’t need another slump, is going just .188/.316/.188 in his last five games.

At least Alfonso Soriano is hot. Since the last day of April, Soriano’s line is an excellent .308/.366/.554, best on the team. Still waiting on an AL team to get desperate for a DH…

Travis Wood gets start number two on the year, taking the place of Chris Volstad. His first start was decent, and he’s going to get at least a few more to lock down a rotation spot.

Since the Astros are surprisingly not horrible thus far this year (it’s early in his tenure, but new GM Jeff Luhnow ain’t no slouch – I’m certainly not bummed about the Astros leaving the NL Central), it’s fair to expect then that they’ve had some surprisingly good performances. Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris have both been solid in the rotation, and you can expect them to be licking their chops at the prospect of facing a down Cubs’ lineup.

Jed Lowrie is hitting .273/.354/.461, Jose Altuve is hitting .318/.369/.448, and Carlos Lee is hitting .295/.356/.432.

Rule 5 Draftee Marwin Gonzalez isn’t lighting the world on fire, but he’s doing enough to stick around with the Astros, for now.

The Astros’ bullpen has been ridiculous, headlined by Brandon Lyon (1.76 ERA), Wilton Lopez (1.85), and Brett Myers (1.93).

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.

So, Emilia Clarke’s stay for the Cubs is going to be considerably shorter than her run on ‘Game of Thrones.’ After a sweep at the hands of the White Sox, another change is needed. Let’s go back to the Victoria’s Secret farm system (after all, the Cubs had the best success with Marisa Miller at the helm), and offer the job to Erin Heatherton. Like Marisa before her, Erin has thrown out the first pitch at Wrigley Field, which makes me assume she’s a Cubs fan, which makes me like her even more. Here’s hoping the Cubs win a few.

For the Astros, how about native Texan Alexis Bledel? I saw her on ‘Mad Men’ a couple weeks ago and thought she might make for a nice representative should the opportunity arise.

Given the Wrigley Field connection, this one’s got to go to Erin, right?

Versus

  • hansman1982

    GAAAA I HATE SKINNY JEANS!!!!

    • Joe

      Better skinny jeans than crazy eyes.

    • Fishin Phil

      She looks like she could use a sammich.

    • hardtop

      huh, i thought those were just women’s jeans… and she’s a particular skinny women.  i thought “skinny jeans” was a term that guys who wear women’s jeans came up with to hide the fact that they are transtesticles.

  • Chris S

    ^ +1..

  • John

    A new scouting report was just released concerning the Cubs. “Let the Cubs load the bases and the next three outs will be automatic.”

    • truebluecubbie

      lolololololololol

  • Idaho Razorback

    I like the Astros girl much better, more of a Cougar and crazy looking eyes. Plus I don’t like skinny women, prefer a much healthier looking woman.

  • http://twitter.com/rbmryu Rafael Bruno

    Holly Crap!
    Marry me Erin *__*
    No way the cubs are gonna suck with Erin

  • HoustonTransplant

    I’m going to the game tonight and then again on Wednesday to partake in what should be some great pitching match-ups! Garza v. Norris and then Shark v. Rodriguez? Arguably the two best starters for each team against each other is a nice treat (although you could easily argue Dempster is one of the 2 best pitchers this season).

    Don’t underestimate the Astros…they’ve been in just about every game I’ve watched this season and they play much better at home than they do on the road. Norris has been lights out this month, so tonight might be a little scary. Hopefully the Cubs can pull a rabbit out of their ass and get hot. A 3 game sweep would be a very nice early birthday present!

  • King Jeff

    Erin is also from Skokie, and is definitely a Cubs fan. I think this puts us at a better advantage than other she-views have.

  • calicubsfan007

    I hope we can get back on track and win again. I hate losing, even in this expected losing season. Let’s get on a winning streak Cubbies!!!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I think that people are reading too much into the Cubs winning and losing streaks.  However, what did the Cubs do differently during their short “hot” run than over the last week plus?  Two things.  1) they out-homered the opposition appreciably.  1B), they got great performances out of their starters.  (That actually contributed a lot to 1, which is why I put it as 1B).

      Since then, the Cubs have failed to out-homer the opposition, both because they’ve given up more HR and hit fewer HR.  Teams getting outhomered are winning only 22% of the time this year.  Heck, if a team fails to out-homer the opposition, then they win only 35% of the time: and that’s counting the fact that there have been 190 games in which the winning and losing team hit the same number of HR.

  • mister_rob

    Brett – Have to compliment you on the use of the old logos in the series previews. Brings me back to my childhood. Alot of these teams new logos are generic at best

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I like them, too. Thanks, Rob.

  • Spriggs

    Those are two really atrocious lineups. I’m just glad they aren’t at Wrigley with the wind blowing out. Although minutemaid doesn’t suit them much better.

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