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pittsburgh-piratesThe Cubs head out to Pittsburgh with Matt Garza at the ready. His outing will set the tenor for the rest of the series … or some other sports platitude.

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 dropped their latest series with the Mets, which was a bummer, because a couple more runs on Sunday would have given them their third straight series win. As it is, they’re just 5-5 in their last ten.

The Pirates are hot – hot enough to have pulled win just two games in the NL Central. They’ve won eight of their last ten.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Tuesday, May 21 at 6:05 CT on CSN.
  • Wednesday, May 22 at 6:05 CT on WGN.
  • Thursday, May 23 at 11:35 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: Matt Garza (0-0, -.–), Jeff Samardzija (2-5, 3.59), Edwin Jackson (1-6, 5.76)

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. Darwin Barney, 2B
  9. Pitcher

Pirates

Starters: Wandy Rodriguez (4-2, 3.25), Francisco Liriano (2-0, 1.64), Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.78)

Lineups:

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

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Obviously Matt Garza is the guy to watch in this series. His return could be hugely important to the Cubs over the next couple months, for a great many reasons.

Cubs pitchers are hot … at the plate. They’re batting over .300 in May.

David DeJesus is scalding the ball over a six-game hitting streak, sporting a .417/.481/.625 line during that stretch.

Word of Anthony Rizzo’s big extension broke late on May 12. Since then, he’s hitting just .214/.241/.393. I’m going to call that a coincidence.

Two guys the Pirates count on to be a part of their offensive success, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez, aren’t getting it done, hitting .236/.331/.302 and .201/.253/.388, respectively.

Russell Martin – not Andrew McCutchen – continues to be the Pirates’ best hitter this year, with a line of .276/.364/.517.

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, courtesy of BN’er Hansman.

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.

I guess I’m really into the mascots lately. Here’s a feisty one from USA Today of the Pirates’ … um … bird?

  • bluestainedivy

    Skadoosh!

  • cjdubbya

    I scoff at your kung fu sumo attack!

  • Jonathn

    Why are the pirates good?

    • Stinky Pete

      Because it’s May.

  • kgd

    I actually had a good one this time, but I think it crosses the line by using urban racial slang. I’ll keep this one to myself.

  • Idaho Razorback

    As far as the series she-view, is that a Natty Ice in the top photo but not in the bottom photo? What’s wrong with us? Were talking about hamburgers and Natty Ice instead of the beautiful blond girl.

  • MichiganGoat

    Damn it bird you are why we keep being below .500 – ITS YOUR FAULT YOU DIRTY BIRD

  • João Lucas

    I believe Valbuena has been batting 6th and Castillo 7th for a while.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Eh, I think only a few games here and there since Valbuena returned from the pinkie injury. Just waiting for it to be a couple full series in a row.

      • João Lucas

        Fair enough. I didn’t mean to nitpick, just thought you might not have noticed it.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I didn’t take it as a nit-pick at all – very fair point.

  • Rcleven

    “Word of Anthony Rizzo’s big extension broke late on May 12. Since then, he’s hitting just .214/.241/.393. I’m going to call that a coincidence.”

    Now I expect Rizzo to tear it up.
    Thank you.

  • Nick

    But who was Starling Marte?

  • King Jeff

    “Word of Anthony Rizzo’s big extension broke late on May 12. Since then, he’s hitting just .214/.241/.393. I’m going to call that a coincidence.”

    I seem to remember someone trumpeting that Rizzo hadn’t struck out in, like, 40 ab’s, and I seem to recall that he struck out the very next at bat, and has been in a slump since. I’m going to call that a coincidence as well, for now.

  • Camiata2

    No, bird. I’m the token animal on the field, not you.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com scott mayo

    We need some major help in the bullpen. If we could get the help we need in the bullpen I believe we would start to win some games especially if we could throw some consistent offense in there

  • Saving Grace

    Get off the field, and no you couldn’t play better than us!

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  • Kenster

    Is that 3 straight lefties the Cubs are facing? Or is Gomez a righty? I wouldn’t be able to handle seeing the lefty lineup for 3 straight days…

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