Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

Cincinnati-Reds-Mr-RedThe Cubs will head to Cincinnati to lick their wounds and eat some chili. I’ll be at Wednesday’s game, and it would be nice if the Cubs played well …

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 were just swept in Milwaukee, and have lost six of seven. At 5-12, the Cubs are the only team with a losing record in the NL Central. They are in the cellar by a relative country mile.

The Reds have won seven of eight after losing five in a row to the Cardinals and Pirates. But they only won three out of four against the Marlins in their last series. So, I mean, clearly they’re beatable.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, April 22 at 6:10 CT on CSN.
  • Tuesday, April 23 at 6:10 CT on WGN.
  • Wednesday, April 24 at 11:35 CT on CSN, MLBN.

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 (1-1, 1.83), Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.29), Jeff Samardzija (1-3, 3.38)


  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, 2B
  9. Pitcher


Starters: Mike Leake (1-0, 4.26), Tony Cingrani (1-0, 1.80), Mat Latos (0-0, 2.73)


  1. Shin-Soo Choo, CF
  2. ZacK Cosart, SS
  3. Joey Votto, 1B
  4. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  5. Jay Bruce, RF
  6. Todd Frazier, 3B
  7. Chris Heisey, LF
  8. Ryan Hanigan/Devin Mesoraco, C
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

It’s hard to find positive performances from the last series against the Brewers. Although the Cubs out-hit the Brewers, they were just 1-17 with runners in scoring position. Their numbers in that regard have reached epically bad proportions.

At least this series will see the two brightest bright spots on the team this year so far, starters Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva. Each has had three straight great starts to begin the season.

The Cubs lead the league with 17 errors, and they’ve allowed 14 unearned runs – almost one unearned run per game (which is nuts).

Starlin Castro has a 13-game hitting streak.

It’s hard to pick what stat is most impressive for Shin-Soo Choo this year, but, since he’s the leadoff man, I guess you’d have to say it’s the .523 OBP. It almost makes Joey Votto’s .522 OBP look bad.

(Yes, the Reds have two players with an OBP over .500. By contrast, the Cubs have just one regular – Welington Castillo at .400 – with an OBP over .365.)

Aroldis Chapman’s early season numbers are once again silly, stupid, crazy good. The key to beating Chapman is never facing him.

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 Reds 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.

Today’s picture offers you the opportunity to do what I did with a Darwin Barney-Brandon Phillips tri-pic. He could be unhappy about any number of things, though, and it doesn’t have to be the Gold Glove thing. Brandon, in this photo from SI, seems bummed about something:

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