Interleague play is here, as the Texas Rangers come to Wrigley Field for one of the more exciting series in the early going. The Rangers are good, as usual, so taking two in this set would be pretty solid.
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 suffered through a miserable four-game set with the Giants, in which they easily could have won three or four games. Instead, they won just one, and sunk to 4-8 on the season.
The Rangers are 8-5, though they have lost three of their last five.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Tuesday, April 16 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
- Wednesday, April 17 at 7:05 CT on WGN.
- Thursday, April 18 at 1:20 CT on WGN, MLBN.
You can pick up your Chicago Cubs tickets for the series via that there link, or at Cubs.com.
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: Travis Wood (1-0, 1.46), Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 0.64), Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 2.75)
- David DeJesus, CF
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Alfonso Soriano, LF
- Nate Schierholtz, RF
- Welington Castillo/Dioner Navarro, C
- Luis Valbuena, 3B
- Darwin Barney, 2B
Starters: Derek Holland (0-1, 2.40), Justin Grimm (0-0, 4.50), Alexi Ogando (2-0, 1.08)
Lineup (a lot of guess work here, given the no DH thing):
- Ian Kinsler, 2B
- Elvis Andrus, SS
- Adrian Beltre, 3B
- Nelson Cruz, RF
- David Murphy, LF
- Mitch Moreland, 1B
- AJ Pierzynsky, C
- Leonys Martin, CF
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Darwin Barney is back after tearing up AAA for a few days, which itself followed him tearing up his knee. He’s been missed, and, although his presence probably won’t be the difference between 70 wins and 85 wins, he’s an upgrade.
Kameron Loe joins the Cubs today after being claimed off waivers from the Mariners. His start of the year was almost unthinkably bad: he gave up six homers in just 6.2 innings with the Mariners before getting the boot. That seems … unsustainable. Hopefully that sinker starts sinking again. If it does, and he gets back to form, he’s a legitimate arm in just about any bullpen.
Look at the Cubs starters’ ERAs in this series. Small sample sizes and all that, but they are crazy good. And Samardzija’s is the highest by far.
The Cubs miss Yu Darvish in this series, which is good for the Cubs, but bad for the fans. I’m sure folks would have liked to have seen him in action.
Alexi Ogando has been killing it in the starting role this year for the Rangers, perhaps justifying their decision not to land a big-time starter in the offseason.
The Rangers’ best hitter by far this year is Fat Elvis Lance Berkman, with a .389/.500/.611. Problem is, he’s basically just a DH at this point in his career. Will the Rangers figure out a way to work him in at first base in this series? It’s possible.
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 … unique She-View for the Rangers 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 the Rangers, how can it not be the legendary smile of manager Ron Washington? …