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The Cubs are as hot as they’ve been in weeks, maybe as hot as they’ve been all season. Atlanta, the city, is also boiling hot, so maybe that’ll keep things warm for the Cubs. But not the Braves. Somehow.

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 swept the Astros after taking two of three from the Mets. That’s five of six, people!

The Braves have lost three of four, and have dropped two of their last three series. They are four games over .500, and 4.5 out in the NL East. Don’t you just love knowing that, given the Braves’ position in the East in the Wild Card, they’d be more willing to buy the better they play? That means, if the Cubs, for example, swept the Braves, that would be kind of bad for the Cubs, not just in Draft positioning, but in the trade market. Cognitive dissonance!

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, July 2 at 6:10 CT on CSN.
  • Tuesday, July 3 at 6:10 CT on CSN.
  • Wednesday, July 4 at 6:10 CT on WGN.
  • Thursday, July 5 at 6:10 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.

Cubs

Starters: Jeff Samardzija (5-7, 5.05), Chris Volstad (0-6, 7.46), Paul Maholm (5-6, 4.84), Matt Garza (4-6, 4.01)

Lineup:

  1. David DeJesus, CF
  2. Starlin Castro, SS
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
  5. Bryan LaHair, RF
  6. Darwin Barney, 2B
  7. Geovany Soto, C
  8. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  9. Pitcher

Braves

Starters: Tommy Hanson (9-4, 3.59), Jair Jurrjens (1-2, 6.07), Randall Delgado (4-8, 4.52), Mike Minor (4-6, 6.20)

Lineup:

  1. Michael Bourn, CF
  2. Martin Prado, LF
  3. Jason Heyward, RF
  4. Larry Jones, 3B
  5. Brian McCann, C
  6. Dan Uggla, 2B
  7. Freddie Freeman, 1B
  8. Andrelton Simmons, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Carlos Marmol is actually hot. Since coming off the DL in late May, Marmol has thrown 11.1 innings, striking out 16, and posting a 3.97 ERA. And he’s converted five straight save opportunities.

The starters are quite the story in this series for the Cubs: Can Jeff Samardzija stop his horrible slide? Can Chris Volstad start a Travis Wood-like resurgence? Can Matt Garza put together that one dominant outing that’s been eluding him? Can Paul Maholm build on his last dominant start?

Samardzija’s ERA over his last four starts, by the way? 12.27. Oof.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman – their version of Anthony Rizzo in a number of ways – has decent numbers on the year (.266/.315/.456), and is riding a .500 streak in his last 20 at bats.

A couple of the Braves’ bigger bats are cold, with Brian McCann having just three hits in his last 21 at bats, and Michael Bourn having just four in his last 22.

Martin Prado is having a heck of a rebound year for the Braves, hitting .321/.384/.466.

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.

Well, once again, Stacy Keibler got the job done as the Cubs’ rep against the Astros (and then some). She might have this job for a while. And, since I’m at the beach … well, you’ll see.

As for the Braves, I’ll go with Reese Witherspoon, which I’ve probably done before, but it always seems like an appropriate fit. We’ll go with a brunette version, which fits the Braves’ color scheme a bit better.

versus

  • poot007

    I understand about the draft picks and the trading (as far as loosing goes) to get better in the long run. But I just can’t help to root for the win. It feels so darn good when they win!!

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Stacy Keibler vs. Reese Witherspoon? Thats like the Yankees vs. the Cubs!? Reese is hot but its like like comparing a 2011 Lamborghini to a 2004 BMW. Both good cars but the Lambo is always going to trump the little older Beemer everytime. But I will say the Beemer is always a very classy/respectable vehicle

  • Da Cubs

    Wowsers!!With all due respect to Reese Witherspoon,we win this series going away.I’ll even predict 4 perfect games.

  • MaxM1908

    You forgot to mention Dan Uggla’s cold streak. In his last ten games, he’s 4 for 36 with 17 K’s.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s mighty cold. How’s married life?

      • MaxM1908

        Great! The wedding was beautiful, and it was fairly stress-free. We had a nice little trip to Portugal after the wedding to enjoy some sun. Back in Chicago now at the daily grind.

    • RY34

      which means he will hit .800 this series with four bombs.

  • Patrick G

    Oh my Keibler, George Clooney is one lucky sob

  • willis

    12.27 over the last four starts? Ouch. Here’s to him figuring it out tonight.

  • Spencer

    I will be boycotting tomorrow’s game.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Anyone notice who pitched against the Smokies last night in AA – Chris Reed from the Dodgers threw 3 scoreless innings in his start. I’m guessing Cub brass was watching as well.

  • True(ly) Blue

    I went to the Cub game on Sunday and it was memorable. Got to the park just as the wind storm blew in. My son’s girlfriend got knocked down and buried by a flying tarp from a concession stand. We waited in the car for 15 minutes while the worst of the wind blew past. When we went into the park we weren’t allowed down to the box seats for about a half hour for fear of lightning strikes. (No rain) When the game started it was eirie. Black and rolling clouds to the south of the stadium roof and bright blue sky to the north.
    The game was great. Well pitched and played though from our really great seats (3 rows behind the Cubs dugout) I had to review on TV the 2 best defensive plays of the game made by Barney on pop ups down the fight field line. I have enjoyed Barneys’ play this season and concur with several of the posters on this site that he is a solid pro.

  • Steve

    As I’ve mentioned before, i have no issue with D Barney being our 2nd baseman going forward. He should be entering his prime right when we are ready to compete.
    A solid cost effective player?? Yes please!!!

    • Joey Collins

      cant agree more. Even if Lake or another prospect really challenges and it becomes apparent they are the better 2nd baseman that wont happen for atleast another year, possibly two. I’m quite happy having barney in the mix until then. Make one of these young guys take it from him by perfroming on the field, dont just trade him away becuase some prospect is suspose to be the next great thing.

  • MightyBear

    The Cubs are 4-1 since they called up Rizzo. The R factor!

  • Mysterious4th

    Barney is pretty good all around! He should be our go to 2nd baseman until somebody can challenge him, and then he could be our 2nd/ss back up or we trade him for a good prospect.

    And reese in that picture doesn’t look as hot as she usually does! But kiebler, on the beach with a bikini on vs a face shot of reese? So sorry reese but just like the braves are going to do, you lose!

  • calicubsfan007

    So far, so good with bringing Rizzo up. Hope he can continue this tear. Go Cubs!

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    If the Dodgers are willing to give up Garrett Gould for Carlos Lee then what do you think they’d be willing to give up for Dempster? Brett/ or anyone please tell me if the Cubs can literally possibly get of Chris Reed? Or maybe 2 of Angel Sanchez, Chris Withrow, Ethan Martin, Shawn Tolleson?

    • calicubsfan007

      Personally, I think the Cubs could. Dodgers want to win now, so they seem really willing to part with the future to try to win now. Sounds eeriely familiar, doesn’t it?

    • Toby

      Especially if the Cubs absorb all of Dempster’s contract. I’d go further and say the Cubs could kick in a mid-level prospect to guarantee a better return.

  • Featherstone

    I’m really liking the 2-3 order of Castro and Rizzo. I would love them to develop some consistency at the spots because I genuinely believe (as many of you do as well) that Castro is a natural number 2 hitter and Rizzo has the power to be a mainstay in the 3 hole.

  • calicubsfan007

    So, I am a coward and a cyberbully now? I don’t even know what I did to piss that dude off.

    • Carew

      I feel as though youd be a cool cat to hangout with

    • @cubsfantroy

      You will have that from time to time. Of course I don’t know how you could be both. And you’re pretty chill. I don’t remember any negative comments you made.

      • calicubsfan007

        @cubsfantroy: Check out the Cubs game results page. I tell you that I am sorry that you were called a coward and that he has called me one too. He then responded with the cyperbullying thing. He was acting like I was the instigator!

  • calicubsfan007

    Carew: Thanks. I consider myself to be pretty laidback and all, I am sorry that I rubbed that dude the wrong way.

    • hansman1982

      From reading his posts, it seems life in general rubs him the wrong way.

      1967 dude, please chill out. Since you have come to this site you have been nothing but piss and vinegar and proceed to lash out to anyone who debates you. Also, Brock for Brogglio happened a long time ago and noone in the front office now was in the front office then.

      • calicubsfan007

        Hansman: You don’t know that. Maybe the guy who was the Cubs GM then is now one of those thousand year old janitors. He would only be like 80-90 years old, he would be a helluva janitor!

  • THEOlogical

    This will be my first yr in awhile that I haven’t went to a Cubs/Braves game. But Brett, your in N.C., when the Cubs are in Atlanta, and on vacation, and your not able to see a game? Hopefully you can sneak away for a few hours, right? I live about an hour between Savannah and Jacksonville and the weather for Saturday and Sunday was brutal! The heat index was 111 and 118 respectfully, needless to say I was sweating bullets at work.

  • bob

    Campana starting in CF tonight. Still wondering if DeJesus is hurt…

    • calicubsfan007

      Bob: Or a trade of DeJesus possibly?

      • @cubsfantroy

        I don’t think it is a trade. Have there even been any rumors regarding him getting traded, or even any teams interested?

        • hansman1982

          no snark here – please take at face value:

          When was the last time you heard a rumor about a Cubs trade more than a handful of hours before execution?

  • @cubsfantroy

    And both Reese and Stacy are hot. I don’t know who to root for now lol

  • Evan

    On the other hand if we beat the crap out of their pitching maybe they’ll realize how badly they need Garza or Dempster…

    • @cubsfantroy

      good point

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