You’re going to think I’m crazy, but there are actually a number of reasons to be excited about this series against the Twins. First, it’s an opportunity to take in the Twins’ new ballpark for the first time (for many of us). Second, for those who like interleague play (I do), we’re kicking it back off, and it’s a team we haven’t seen the Cubs play in a while. Third, I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing Alfonso Soriano do some DH’ing, and maybe – maybe – seeing Bryan LaHair get a look in left field.
And then the part some of you are going to hate hearing me say: the Cubs are likely to be “battling” the Twins, among other teams, for the worst record in baseball come September. So, I’m not saying I’m rooting against the Cubs this weekend – I just don’t have it in me – but this series is certainly important in that regard.
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 lost two of three to the Brewers, which, given how things have been going in the last month, actually feels like a small victory.
The Twins have been beset by injuries this year, but also have been mighty terrible. They’ve been hot of late, though, winning three straight series, and seven of their last nine games. Despite being 12 games under .500, they’re just 9.5 out in the AL Central (last place). That’s actually not *definitely* insurmountable.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Friday, June 8 at 7:10 CT on WGN.
- Saturday, June 9 at 1:10 CT on CSN.
- Sunday, June 10 at 1:10 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: Travis Wood (0-2, 4.56), Jeff Samardzija (5-3, 3.13), Ryan Dempster (1-2, 2.59)
- Tony Campana, CF
- Starlin Castro, SS
- David DeJesus, RF
- Alfonso Soriano, DH
- Bryan LaHair, 1B
- Steve Clevenger, C
- Darwin Barney, 2B
- Ian Stewart, 3B
- Reed Johnson, LF (might be flipped with Campana)
Starters: P.J. Walters (2-1, 3.69), Scott Diamond (4-1, 1.86), Cole De Vries (1-1, 4.20)
- Denard Span/Ben Revere, CF
- Jamey Carroll, 3B
- Josh Willingham, LF
- Justin Morneau, DH
- Ryan Doumit, C (Joe Mauer has a strained right thumb, but will probably be back at some point this series)
- Trevor Plouffe, 1B
- Brian Dozier, SS
- Alexi Casilla, 2B
- Darin Mastroianni, RF
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Ryan Dempster finally got a win, though he pretty much had to be perfect to get it. Travis Wood is also coming off a great start, while Jeff Samardzija is coming off one of his rougher outings.
Steve Clevenger is hitting an ugly .174/.174/.217 since coming back from the DL. Dale Sveum has called Clevenger’s bat “slump-proof.” Well, he’s working on a five-game slump, so let’s see.
Bryan LaHair is hot again, going 6 for his last 18 with two bombs.
So, this Scott Diamond fellow has been pitching well. In his six starts this year, the 25-year-old lefty has been dominant, with a 216 ERA+, thanks in large part to the fact that he doesn’t walk anyone. Ever.
Joe Mauer has settled into being a .300/.400/.400 guy, which is fine to have on your team, especially if he can catch. But, unfortunately, at 29, Mauer is starting to lose some time at catcher (he’s started more games this year as 1B and DH (together) than he has at catcher), and he’s going to cost the Twins $23 million per year for the next six years after this one. Hometown heroes are certainly a nice thing, but they aren’t always a cheap or team-friendly thing.
Josh Willingham is 8 for his last 22, and has been killing it for the Twins this year: .286/.408/.573, all far better than his career averages.
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.
Since the Cubs didn’t get swept – it’s a low bar these days – Amanda Seyfried gets one more shot. And if you don’t like it, I suggest you take it up with the picture below.
So, for the Twins, I mean, the angle is obvious, right? Twins. But there’s a problem. When you search for twins out there, you get either (1) the Olsen Twins, which just ain’t my thing, or (2) kinda dirty looking pictures of twins, which just ain’t this space’s thing. So, I went as wholesome as I could go – the Doublemint Twins. I’m not entirely sure they’re actually twins. Whateves.