If you’ve been waiting for a series this first half of the season, this is it. Certainly whatever significance we, or the media ascribe to it – the battle for Theo Epstein, a cosmic rivalry, some kind of jealousy – is almost wholly artificial. But … I still feel like I really want the Cubs to blast the Red Sox. To really beat them over a rock. I can’t help it.
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 dropped the back two in their three-game series with the Tigers, which only feels like a minor defeat. They remain, healthily, in last place in the NL Central.
After an abysmal start to the season, the Red Sox have climbed back to, and hovered around, .500 for some time now. They’re a game below .500, but just 6.5 out in the AL East. They just took two of three from the Marlins after being swept by the Nationals.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Friday, June 15 at 1:20 CT on CSN, MLBN.
- Saturday, June 16 at 6:15 CT on FOX.
- Sunday, June 17 at 7:00 CT on ESPN.
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 (2-3, 2.31), Jeff Samardzija (5-4, 3.96), Paul Maholm (4-5, 4.91)
- Tony Campana, CF
- Starlin Castro, SS
- David DeJesus, RF
- Alfonso Soriano, LF
- Bryan LaHair, 1B
- Steve Clevenger, C
- Darwin Barney, 2B
- Luis Valbuena, 3B
Starters: Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 7.20), Jon Lester (3-4, 4.57), Josh Beckett (4-7, 4.14)
- Scott Podsednik, LF
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
- Adrian Gonzalez, RF
- David Ortiz, 1B
- Will Middlebrooks, 3B
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
- Ryan Sweeney, CF
- Mike Aviles, SS
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Ryan Dempster is on a 15-inning scoreless streak, and now everyone wonders whether each start might be his last start of the year with the Cubs.
Darwin Barney has gone .306/.364/.463 in his last 34 games. I mean, that’s just flat-out really, really good. And that’s a really long stretch, too.
Jeff Samardzija is coming off his worst start of the year, and has actually had back-to-back poor starts. You could probably make that three straight, during which time his ERA is 7.47 (though most of that comes from that really bad one in Minnesota).
Daisuke Matsuzaka is making his second start after returning from Tommy John surgery. The Cubs tend to be a nice team to face in that situation.
Adrian Gonzalez had three hits his last time out, but has a mere .234/.256/.387 line in his last 28 games.
Dustin Pedroia is hitting an ugly .167/.244/.194 in June.
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.
The Cubs dropped another series, so it’s time for another new representative. With this being a series I’d really like the Cubs to win, it’s time to break out the big guns. How about the insanely good-looking Brooklyn Decker for the Cubs?
As for the Red Sox, they’re still pretty good, so they can have this picture of Jessica Biel in a Red Sox shirt, as much as it pains me.