Series Preview: Red Sox v. Cubs, June 15 – June 17, 2012

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.

Cubs

Starters: Ryan Dempster (2-3, 2.31), Jeff Samardzija (5-4, 3.96), Paul Maholm (4-5, 4.91)

Lineup:

  1. Tony Campana, CF
  2. Starlin Castro, SS
  3. David DeJesus, RF
  4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
  5. Bryan LaHair, 1B
  6. Steve Clevenger, C
  7. Darwin Barney, 2B
  8. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  9. Pitcher

Red Sox

Starters: Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 7.20), Jon Lester (3-4, 4.57), Josh Beckett (4-7, 4.14)

Lineup:

  1. Scott Podsednik, LF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, RF
  4. David Ortiz, 1B
  5. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
  6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  7. Ryan Sweeney, CF
  8. Mike Aviles, SS
  9. Pitcher

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.

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.

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.

Versus

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

22 responses to “Series Preview: Red Sox v. Cubs, June 15 – June 17, 2012”

  1. Karen P

    I loved the Red Sox growing up. Totally romanticized them after seeing Field of Dreams. Nearly cried when I got to go to a Sox-Sox series at Fenway in junior high.

    Now all I want is to watch my Cubbies pound them in to the ground a’la The Hulk vs. Loki in the Avengers. :)

    1. Richard Nose

      Don’t take this wrong Karen, in no way am I criticizing you. Just wondering how you went from Sox fan to Cubs fan. I’m in my 20′s and have been a Cubs fan since I first saw wgn on a tv. Can’t imagine ever being a fan of someone else. My dad’s in his 50′s. He grew up a Cardinals fan. Midstream switch, now die hard Cubs fan. I don’t get it!!! haha is it a generational thing? Can I expect myself to go through some type of baseball fandom crisis in the coming years?!?!?!!?

  2. Can't think of a cool name

    How about a Dempster shut out today to get the Yankees and Red Sox drooling?

    1. Cubs Dude

      That would be ideal!

  3. dreese

    Stop batting DeJesus 3rd! He doesn’t like it!

    1. willis

      And stop with Campana in the every day lineup. Gross lineup.

  4. gratefulled

    Brooklyn Decker = BOOM!!!

    I’m liking our chances at a sweep.

    1. Beer Baron

      Yes – way to pull out the big guns (both literally and figuratively). And being married to Andy Roddick she has experience with not winning championships, so definitely a Cubs connection there.

  5. Johnny Mac

    Oh man, Brooklyn Decker gives me such a huge… hope for the series.

  6. CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

    “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.”

    So, not a small sample size anymore? (Snark)

    1. King Jeff

      I know it’s a little bit subjective, but Darwin Barney is also rated number one in Defensive WAR in the national league for any position.

    2. hansman1982

      It will be interesting to see what he does from here on out but 34 games is a small sample size. Since June 1 (even smaller sample size) he has a whopping .679 OPS (not counting yesterdays game because I pulled the OPS stat yesterday afternoon) and has all of 2 XBH (including yesterdays game).

      I will say I am warming to Barney occupying 2nd for a longer period of time – his season OPS is about league average and he provides plus defense. If he can become a doubles machine then he is very useful for the 6 years of team control, provided he doesn’t go all Ryan Theriot on us and think he needs to homer every time.

  7. Drew7

    Anyone gonna be a Saturday’s game?

  8. @cubsfantroy

    I didn’t see the game yesterday, how did Valbuena look at the plate and in the field?

    1. rcleven

      Didn’t get enough chances in the field. What I did see was he was smart enough to eat the ball when he didn’t have a play.
      On offense nobody hit. So cant give a grade there.

  9. Andrew Jones

    It’s getting really hard to not love Barney. Take a look at baseball reference’s WAR rankings this season. What do Matt Cain, Stephen Strasburg, ryan dickey and, my favorite, Ryan Braun all have in common? all have less WAR this season than Barney! At 3.0 hes tied with Melky Cabrera, and carlos ruiz. Obviously there are problems with the WAR system, but considering that all the other names in the top ten are very talented players, anybody that wants to make the case Barney is not a solid major league starter is going to have a tough time explaining themselves.

    1. AB

      I’m very happy with Barney so far.

      Biel was briefly a fellow FIB when she lived on my street for awhie in Woodstock, IL.

  10. Patrick G

    Hope the Cubs can rip Daiskue today ad Theo can laugh in there faces for that signing. Brooklyn Decker should be our rep for the rest of the year!

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  12. Patrick W.

    I have a feeling this Ryan Dempster’s final start at Wrigley Field as a Chicago Cub. If not today, then June 26th against the Mets, giving him 3 straight Chicago starts before his June 28th trade.

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