The Cubs head to Arizona with story lines that have nothing to do with wins or losses dominating the discussion. Trade candidates, injuries, and Anthony Rizzo. Expect to hear plenty more about all of that.
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 dropped the final game of their three-game set with the White Sox, but phrasing it that way suggests the Cubs won the first two games. And, hey, they did. Neat!
The Diamondbacks, after a long, rough start to the year, have slogged their way back to just a game under .500, 7.5 out in the NL West. They’ve dropped five of their last nine, though, after a torrid stretch.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Friday, June 22 at 8:40 CT on WGN.
- Saturday, June 23 at 9:10 CT on CSN, MLBN.
- Sunday, June 24 at 3:10 CT on CSN.
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: Jeff Samardzija (5-5, 4.04), Paul Maholm (4-5, 4.88), Matt Garza (3-5, 4.07)
- David DeJesus, CF
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Bryan LaHair, RF
- Alfonso Soriano, LF
- Steve Clevenger, 1B
- Darwin Barney, 2B
- Geovany Soto, C
- Luis Valbuena, 3B
Starters: Joe Saunders (4-5, 3.44), Ian Kennedy (5-7, 4.13), Wade Miley (8-3, 2.30)
- Chris Young, CF
- Aaron Hill, 2B
- Justin Upton, RF
- Jason Kubel, LF
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Miguel Montero, C
- Ryan Roberts, 3B
- John McDonald/Willie Bloomquist, SS
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Starlin Castro has been scorching hot over his last four games, hitting .471 and slugging .941. So what if his OBP is also .471? That’s high!
Since May 18, Jeff Samardzija’s ERA has steadily climbed from 2.89 to 4.04. Over that stretch of six starts, he’s got a 5.50 ERA, and has allowed 40 hits (plus 14 walks) in just 34.1 innings.
Matt Garza had a great start against the White Sox if you can ignore the two home runs, one of which was very much wind-aided.
So, Wade Miley? I don’t want to exaggerate, but is the 25-year-old lefty a Cy Young candidate? He’s got a 2.30 ERA and a 1.057 WHIP in 82.1 innings, and an 8-3 record (which is stupid, but tends to matter to Cy Young voters). He’s also got an OPS over .800 at the plate, for whatever that’s worth.
This offseason’s top strange signing – the Diamondbacks picking up expensive outfielder Jason Kubel despite having a crowded outfield – has worked out relatively well, as Kubel is hitting .297/.373/.489 and is leading the team in a number of offensive categories.
Justin Upton is just 24, so there’s plenty of slack to be cut, but he’s having a rough year (for him). He’s hitting just .258/.341/.371, but has been slightly better - .299/.369/.421 since May 17.
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.
Well the Cubs FINALLY won a series, and it was a big one, over the White Sox. If Brooklyn Decker wasn’t already going to stick around for another series, she definitely was now.
The Diamondbacks will get a local rep – well, actually, a collection of local reps. Nearby Arizona State is consistently lauded as having the most beautiful coeds in the country, so how about some Arizona State cheerleaders to represent the pro baseball team? Anyone else feel like there’s a Matt Garza trade allusion here? Multiple prospects for an established player, or something like that?