Remember back when we thought this time would represent the long-awaited “easy” part of the Cubs’ schedule? Well, the White Sox and Astros certainly didn’t oblige, so how about the Pirates?
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 nine games in a row, their worst streak in a decade. It can only get better from here. Unless it gets worse.
The Pirates have been hovering around the .500 mark all year (presently four games below), but they haven’t won a series since mid-May (against the Astros, natch). They’re coming off of two straight losses to the Mets.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Friday, May 25 at 6:05 CT on CSN+.
- Saturday, May 26 at 6:15 CT on FOX.
- Sunday, May 27 at 12:35 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: Ryan Dempster (0-2, 2.28), Paul Maholm (4-3, 4.73), Matt Garza (2-2, 3.72)
Lineup (unless Dale finally shakes things up):
- David DeJesus, RF
- Tony Campana, CF
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Bryan LaHair, 1B
- Alfonso Soriano, LF
- Ian Stewart, 3B
- Darwin Barney, 2B
- Koyie Hill, C
Starters: A.J. Burnett (2-2, 4.78), Kevin Correia (1-5, 4.50), Erik Bedard (2-5, 3.52)
- Jose Tabata, LF
- Josh Harrison, RF
- Andrew McCutchen, CF
- Pedro Alvarez, 3B
- Neil Walker, 2B
- Garrett Jones, 1B
- Rod Barajas, C
- Clint Barmes, SS
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
David DeJesus has a .382 OBP in May, so he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing. But when a team has lost nine in a row, most folks fall into the “not hot” category. I could list everyone who’s on a cold streak, but you would tear your eyes out by the end.
Bryan LaHair is still cool, having just one hit in his last 21 at bats. “Closer” Rafael Dolis has given up runs in four of his last five appearances. Ryan Dempster has given up four earned in each of his last two starts. Matt Garza is coming off his worst start in a Cubs uniform.
Andrew McCutchen is hitting an excellent .338/.391/.543, but pretty much no other Pirate bats are hitting well. Former Cubs farmhand Josh Harrison is the only other semi-regular with an OBP over .300. That ain’t good. Clint Barmes, never a heavy-hitter, is going just .178/.206/.287.
A.J. Burnett gave up 12 earned in an early-May start against the Cardinals, but since then has a scant 2.45 ERA in three starts.
Juan Cruz – yes, that Juan Cruz – has a 1.08 ERA in 16.2 bullpen innings for the Pirates. The whole team has a nice 3.33 ERA on the year.
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.
I’m going to catch a lot of heat for this, but I’m sticking with Erin Heatherton as the Cubs’ rep for at least one more series. Like Marisa Miller before her, Erin has thrown out the first pitch at Wrigley Field, which makes me assume she’s a Cubs fan, which makes me believe she can bring home some wins. Also, candidly, she’s a personal favorite. Did I mention that she grew up in Skokie? She actually probably is a Cubs fan. In fact, she probably reads Bleacher Nation, and has a huge e-crush on me. Easy now, Erin. I’m married.
I usually try to find a pirate connection for the Pirates’ rep, but there are only so many pirate movies and TV shows. So I’m going with Robin Wright, circa 1987. Why Robin Wright, circa 1987? Well, that’s when ‘The Princess Bride’ came out, and established itself as one of the greatest, most quotable movies of all-time (most quotable movie of all-time? ‘The Big Lebowski,’ duh). In it, the Dread Pirate Roberts plays a key role. So, there you go. Pirates connection.
Actually, you know what? Screw it. I’m going with Wallace Shawn, the guy who played little smart guy, Vizzini.