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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.

Cubs

Starters: Travis Wood (0-2, 4.56), Jeff Samardzija (5-3, 3.13), Ryan Dempster (1-2, 2.59)

Lineup:

  1. Tony Campana, CF
  2. Starlin Castro, SS
  3. David DeJesus, RF
  4. Alfonso Soriano, DH
  5. Bryan LaHair, 1B
  6. Steve Clevenger, C
  7. Darwin Barney, 2B
  8. Ian Stewart, 3B
  9. Reed Johnson, LF (might be flipped with Campana)

Twins

Starters: P.J. Walters (2-1, 3.69), Scott Diamond (4-1, 1.86), Cole De Vries (1-1, 4.20)

Lineup:

  1. Denard Span/Ben Revere, CF
  2. Jamey Carroll, 3B
  3. Josh Willingham, LF
  4. Justin Morneau, DH
  5. Ryan Doumit, C (Joe Mauer has a strained right thumb, but will probably be back at some point this series)
  6. Trevor Plouffe, 1B
  7. Brian Dozier, SS
  8. Alexi Casilla, 2B
  9. 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.

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.

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.

Versus

  • Steve

    Mmmm…Double Mint Twins. Stevie likey////

  • Caleb

    She can stay. But there IS just something about twins. Think I might buy some gum today.

    Also, going to all three games. If anyone else is and wants to hit up bars in the warehouse district, let me know!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Hope it’s a blast. We will await stories.

    • KyleNovak

      A full weekend of baseball, can’t beat it! It would be great to meet up with some other BN’ers, Caleb and I can’t cover all the mischief, can we?

      • Leroy K.

        makes me miss living in Minnesota….

  • Carew

    I get to watch the twins play too! Why must my teams suck, with the exception of the Rays?
    Cubbies will always be Number One however!

    • Papi

      At least the twins are repping wrigley’s gum

      • Carew

        This is a good series

  • this old cub 2

    My son & I will be driving up from Iowa tomorrow for the Saturday game.
    Looks like we’ll be going up against a very good pitcher (Diamond).
    Didn’t know a last place team had such a good starter.
    Oh, well, looking forward to the Target Field experience.
    Just think: the last time we saw the Twins/Cubs play, Mark Prior was the starter for
    Dusty Baker and Boof Bonser beat us.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Wow, has it really been that long? Whew. See? Exciting series.

      • Leroy K.
        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Wow! Great find.

          • Leroy K.

            OK, so after doing a little more digging, that was Game 2 of the Series. The Cubs got swept that series. The Cubs 3 starters were Carlos Marmol (eerie), Mark Prior, and Sean Marshall. The starting lineup for the Cubs was
            Pierre CF
            Bynum LF
            Ramirez 3B
            Nevin 1B
            Jones RF
            Mabry DH
            Cedeno SS
            Womack 2B
            Blanco C

            Wow….what a lineup (not…) no reason we lost all 3 games…Horrible

            • Cubbie Blues

              I don’t even remember Marmol ever being a starter (maybe there is a reason for that).

    • Edwin

      I was at that game. I think Prior actually took a no hitter into the 4th or 5th somehow, even though he was pitching like crap.

      • Leroy K.

        he did. Than gave up 2 runs in the 5th on his way to a 3-0 loss.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    You could have used Cersei & Jamie Lannister for the Twins.  That would have pleased men, women and geeks all at once!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Crud. That would have been clever.

    • SirCub

      I like how geeks are a group separate from men and women.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Then you’ve been to a Doctor Who convention, too, I take it…..

      • Leo L

        do they lack gender (Androgenous) Or is their gender ambiguous or are they classified as a new gender altogether?

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Well, they are sexless…..

  • Cubs Dude

    Brett or anyone else, what are you putting the odds of Garza getting dealt before the deadline? I say 75%, just a gut feeling he will get dealt.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      51% he gets dealt.

      • TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

        Think he gets dealt for a couple of reasons:

        1) As of right now few sellers; thank you commish for increasing the number of playoff spots in our rebuild year
        2) Garza maybe the only pitcher on the market who has had success in the AL East and Toronto, NY and Boston all need pitching.

        In short the haul should be substantial and Theo and Jed realize we are more than one piece away.

        • Cubs Dude

          I agree, and think it will be to the AL East too.

    • Leo L

      my gut goes with 75 percent also. i like the east all competting among themselves increasing the odds

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  • die hard

    good move to showcase Soriano for possible trade to AL team….or to Houston who will be next yr…he would hit a ton down there

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