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The Cardinals are trying to put even more distance between themselves and the next team in the Wild Card race (currently the Brewers). The Cubs will try not to oblige.

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 were swept by the Reds, which sounds about right. They remain in second-to-last place in all of baseball, a half game worse than the Rockies.

The Cardinals just swept the Astros, which sounds about right. They remain in the second Wild Card slot, 2.5 games better than the Brewers.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, September 21 at 1:20 CT on CSN.
  • Saturday, September 22 at 12:05 CT on WGN.
  • Sunday, September 23 at 1:20 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: Chris Volstad (3-10, 6.26), Travis Wood (6-12, 4.25), Justin Germano (2-8, 6.17)

Lineup:

  1. David DeJesus, RF
  2. Josh Vitters/Luis Valbuena, 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
  5. Starlin Castro, SS
  6. Steve Clevenger/Welington Castillo, C
  7. Brett Jackson, CF
  8. Darwin Barney, 2B
  9. Pitcher

Cardinals

Starters: Chris Carpenter (0-0, -.–), Adam Wainwright (13-13, 3.97), Kyle Lohse (15-3, 2.71)

Lineup:

  1. Jon Jay, CF
  2. Carlos Beltran, RF
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Allen Craig, 1B
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. David Freese, 3B
  7. Skip Schumaker, 2B
  8. Pete Kozma, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Brett Jackson really has to go back to the drawing board – he’s got just two hits since August 31, and his line during that stretch is a woeful .063/.189/.094.

Carlos Marmol has been good for a long time. Since returning from his hamstring issue back in May (and since being told, “no, seriously, throw what we tell you to throw”), his ERA is just 2.77, and he’s struck out 53 in 39 innings.

Darwin Barney just had his 13-game hitting streak snapped yesterday, but even if you include that 0-fer, he’s still got a .367/.446/.429 line over those 14 games.

Obviously Chris Carpenter’s return today is the big story for the Cardinals. He’s been suffering from Thorasic Outlet Syndrome, and had shoulder surgery earlier this year. He was not expected to return in 2012, but obviously a quality start or two would be a nice bonus for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals have THREE regulars with and OPS+ over 140 – Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, and Allen Craig. They’ve got two more over 125 – Carlos Beltran and David Freese. Ridiculous.

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, Candice Swanepoel’s stay was quite brief, given the sweep (which is kind of fine with me, because I didn’t like typing her name). As for the new rep, I’ve been re-watching all of PT Anderson’s movies this week in anticipation of seeing ‘The Master’ this weekend (yeah, I’m a huge PT Anderson fan), and today’s edition is ‘Boogie Nights.’ So, I started thinking about Heather Graham. So, there you go.

As for the Cardinals, they don’t get a regular rep. They get Chris Carpenter stretching, since he’s back today.

versus

  • Dave

    Was that picture of Carp chosen because its looks vaguely like a comical goose-step?

  • BluBlud

    Brett or Luke, completely of the subject of this post. I’m just curious, but whats the chance that Baez starts off at AA next year.

    • BluBlud

      Maybe I should say when will he make it to AA next year, as I doubt he starts off there.

    • JR

      Blu, I am no minor league expert, but I don’t think there is anyway Baez starts in double A next yr with his sturggles in Daytona. Hopefully he can make it there by midseason though, otherwise I don’t think we see him in Chicago until 2015.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I would say extremely low. He didn’t get much consistent time at High-A, and he’s still so young. He could get to AA next year, easily. But start there? I doubt it. Possible if he rakes in the AFL, though.

      • Cedlandrum

        I think you are right Brett. Even if he rakes in the AFL I would still like to see him in Daytona. He has some polishing work to be done.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I pretty much agree with Brett on this one. If Baez has an incredible spring, he’ll be spent to Daytona for 100 ABs or so and then moved up. He’d have to do something extremely remarkably to jump to Tennessee at the start of the year.

  • Stinky Pete

    Heather Graham? Did you mean future Mrs. Pete?

  • Luke D

    Allen Craig is God.

    But really. All he does is hit. Their best player by far

  • fortyonenorth

    Another one to watch, obviously, is Castro, who has been on a pleasant tear lately. Starlin seems to decide when he wants to hit. Sometimes, it’s not worth the effort, other times, he seems to be able to knock the ball at-will. Right now, I think he’s focused on reaching .300 for the year. 200 hits could be his goal, too, but I think that’s out of reach.

  • scorardpaul

    I like this….
    As for the Cardinals, they don’t get a regular rep. They get Chris Carpenter stretching, since he’s back today
    I don’t want the cardinals to ever get anything good!!!!

  • scorardpaul

    The cardinals have already ruined my chances of going back to Peoria.

    I am still dreaming of the future when we actualy wip them on the field. Life will be so enjoyable when The Chicago Cubs become a great team!!!

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  • ibcnu2222 (John)

    [img]http://www.elliottharris.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/jennifer_hugunin_cubs.jpg[/img]

    Brett, have you used this for the cubs before?

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