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braves logoThe Cubs now embark on a 19-game stretch in which they face, exclusively, teams that finished the 2012 season at .500 or better. Indeed, 13 of those 19 games are against 2012 playoff teams. If the Cubs go, say, 9-10 over this stretch, you’ve got to be feeling extremely good. Heck, even 8-11 or 7-12 wouldn’t be abysmal.

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 took two of three in their opening series with the Pirates, putting them a game over .500. Let’s hope today isn’t the last day we get to say that all year. (Unless they win SO much that they never fall BACK to JUST one game over .500. AMIRITE!?)

The Braves also took two of three in their opening series against the Phillies, though they did so in slightly more convincing fashion.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, April 5 at 6:30 CT on CSN+, MLBN.
  • Saturday, April 6 at 6:10 CT on WGN.
  • Sunday, April 7 at 12:35 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: Scott Feldman (0-0, -.–), Carlos Villanueva (0-0, -.–), Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 0.00)

Lineup:

  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. Brent Lillibridge, 2B
  9. Pitcher

Braves

Starters: Mike Minor (0-0, -.–), Julio Teheran (0-0, -.–), Tim Hudson (0-0, 6.23)

Lineup:

  1. Andrelton Simmons, SS
  2. Jason Heyward, RF
  3. Justin Upton, LF
  4. Freddie Freeman, 1B
  5. B.J. Upton, CF
  6. Dan Uggla, 2B
  7. Juan Francisco, 3B
  8. Gerald Laird/Evan Gattis, C
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Best batting average on the Cubs right now? Travis Wood at .500.

The only Cubs player with more than 6 at bats and an OPS over .750 is Anthony Rizzo … and he’s got only one hit. But, since that hit was a homer, and he’s also got two walks and a HBP, he’s managed a .778 OPS over the first three games.

Nate Schierholtz has been on fire to start the year, reaching base six times over the three-game series in Pittsburgh, and hitting a crucial homer yesterday. His plate appearances have been excellent examples of making the pitcher work, too. That last part is also true for David DeJesus, though he’s still looking for his first hit.

Brent Lillibridge is having a rough go of replacing Darwin Barney. He’s 0-9 with four strikeouts so far, though he did hit a couple balls hard yesterday.

The Braves’ bats have been jumping. Already this year, they’ve got homers from Freddie Freeman, Evan Gattis, Dan Uggla, Jason Heyward, and Justin Upton (twice). Freeman and Upton, in particular, have been killing it.

A reminder that small sample sizes blast new players on other teams, too: B.J. Upton is hitless and walkless in 11 plate appearances with seven strikeouts.

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 Braves 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 one of Jason Heyward from Zimbio. Must be nice to celebrate stuff:

  • cjdubbya

    “Gameday bucket go BOOM!”

  • Tyler Stevenson

    Hey guys look at the trash I picked up from the Wild Card game!

  • Cub Style

    “Woah, where are my pink jelly beans?”

  • forlines

    “ok…ok…i got the champagne… alls i needs is some oj and a spliff”

  • kgd

    “I am thoroughly pleased by this achievement or announcement.”

  • dreese

    “Whoa, whoa, whoa, what do you mean I have to drive?”

  • andrewmoore4isu

    I do not care about cubs record so much as to the way they play. I want to see them compile hits, not make physical or mental errors, and not make the game boring for the fans! I expect them to lose quite a few games this year, but if they can lose while entertaining us, that would be nice. Three hits is awfully boring to watch with marginal defense.

  • OneManArmy_10

    Tonights game is on MLBN and Tomorrows is on WGN.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sorry – had each of my days off by one. Thanks.

  • andrewmoore4isu

    “F it. I am getting DRUNKKKK”

  • Idaho Razorback

    According to WGN’s website, only Saturdays game is on WGN.

  • forlines

    “No pics until i’m good and sauced please”

  • mak

    “woah, woah, woah. You mean the Lindsay Lohan pregnancy announcement was just an april fool’s joke?”

  • Believe in 2015

    “I swear officer, I am 21 years old”

  • Jeff

    Anybody going to the Atlanta series? I hope to be there for Saturday and Sunday.

    • THEOlogical

      I’ll be there for Sunday’s game.

    • Ben (BG2383)

      I will be there Sunday, section 217. I will be the short Cubs fan drinking with 5 Braves fan friends.
      haha

  • Cubbie Blues

    “Brent Lillibridge is having a rough go of replacing Darwin Barney.”
    I’d say he is reproducing Barney’s results fairly well.
    “He’s 0-9 with four strikeouts so far”
    Oops, I guess not this part though.
    “though he did hit a couple balls hard yesterday.”

  • THEOlogical

    Going to the game Sunday, hopefully Shark will be representin’. I did go to Chipper’s last game last yr (the debacle of a bad call), that was so nuts! I don’t know which was worst, the call or the horrible display from the “fans”.
    The BraveS bats are hot (minus what happened against Cliff Lee) but their defense has been a little shaky. Don’t hit it to Heyward and plenty of times to Uggla and we should be alright. Minor will give up walks and so will Teheran. Hudson is usually dominant after the 1stseason inning so I do hope we jump on him quickly. DO NOT be behind with Kimbrel pitching. Also Walden will walk people as well. Would love to see a series win but I’d gladly take one win.

  • Kubphan82

    Save the bubbly for the World Series!

  • Jeff

    Cool, would be nice to meet other fellow BN’ers at the game

  • Bilbo161

    Oh crap! I forgot its a double header!

  • MightyBear

    Caption: “Carlos Marmol is coming to town to pitch. Whoo Hooo!!!!!”

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m sad now.

    • Jeff

      I’m not an advocate for steroids, but if it could get Marmol back to pitching like when he was dominate, would that be okay???

      LOL

  • ncsujuri

    “Hey Bartender, Jobu needs a re-fill”

  • Wackoman1

    “Whoa whoa whoa. We have to win *how* many games to get to the World Series???”

  • North Side Irish

    My goal for the series is to not read too much into the performance by Feldman and Villanueva. Feldman especially struggled in ST so he’s already a little scary, but this is a really good offense they are facing.

  • Caleb

    And I now have to click elsewhere to ^see hot chicks! Linkbait!!

  • Stu

    Any chance we will see Watkins this year at 2nd? Maybe after DeJesus is traded, he can lead off.

  • CubsFanBob

    If we can get this game tonight vs Minor I like our chances at two out of three if not a sweep. Minor’s best record vs any team is the Cub’s. He is 4-0 or 4-1 vs the Cubs life time. Like Feldman he had a rough spring. I expect the same lineup vs Wandy will be out there tonight.

    After that we have a rookie going against us Saturday and an number one with declining stuff on Sunday. The 60 degrees will fill like 90 degrees coming from the frigid north setting the table for Sori to hit multiple hr’s.

    • forlines

      keep up the positivity. we’ll need it in the next coming weeks!

  • Cubzfann

    “I’m with you Preacher. Drinking is wrong!”

  • Tommy

    This just shows how poorly Sveum manages. Why is Travis Wood not leading off with that OBP?

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  • Kubphan82

    “Tell us Jason, how do you feel knowing that ownership came out during the win to say you will be traded to the Astros in the offseason”

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