Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

The 2013 season has arrived, and the Chicago Cubs open it up in Pittsburgh. It’s possible these will be the two teams fighting over last place in the NL Central come September, so don’t sleep on early April.

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. There’s also some fun stuff, because fun stuff is fun.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs finished up the Spring with a loss and a tie in Houston (well, that was kind of still the Spring), and were 16-19-2 in total. That’s a .457 winning percentage, which would translate to 74 wins in the regular season. Sounds about right.

The Pirates were just 13-18 on the Spring, so they are clearly worse than the Cubs.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, April 1 at 12:35 CT on WGN.
  • Wednesday, April 3 at 6:05 CT on CSN.
  • Thursday, April 4 at 11:35 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.


Starters: Jeff Samardzija (0-0, -.–), Edwin Jackson (0-0, -.–), Travis Wood (0-0, -.–)


  1. David DeJesus, CF
  2. Starlin Castro, SS
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
  5. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  6. Welington Castillo/Dioner Navarro, C
  7. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  8. Darwin Barney/Brent Lillibridge, 2B
  9. Pitcher


Starters: A.J. Burnett (0-0, -.–), Wandy Rodriguez (0-0, -.–), James McDonald (0-0, -.–)


  1. Starling Marte, LF
  2. Travis Snider, RF
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  5. Garrett Jones/Gaby Sanchez, 1B
  6. Neil Walker, 2B
  7. Michael McKenry/Russell Martin, C
  8. Clint Barmes, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

This Spring, your Cubs OPS leader among the guys who made the team? It was David DeJesus at .991. Starlin Castro was next at .913. Hopefully Brent Lillibridge’s .889 holds up into the regular season.

Anthony Rizzo’s .588 OPS brought up the rear among the starters.

Rule 5’er Hector Rondon led the staff in ERA at 1.80. Scott Feldman brought up the rear at 11.25.

Spring stats are already of tenuous importance, and, since they aren’t the Cubs, I will spare you the Pirates’ fake numbers. Andrew McCutchen is very good at baseball. There. You know what you need to know.

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.

This year, the Series She-View will live over at the Message Board. Here’s your She-View for the Pirates series.

Caption the Enemy

A new feature for the Series Preview this year – since folks on the Internet can’t get enough of cracking wise about pictures, I thought it might be a fun addition to the Series Preview. I’ll drop in a picture (hopefully one ripe for captioning), and you’ll drop in your clever captions into the comments. Then, if there are good ones, we can meme-ify them for use down the road.

For example … here’s a good one to get us started from Pittsburgh Magazine:

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