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astros logoThe Cubs really need this series. The Astros probably feel the same way – though I’m not sure how terribly interested they are in winning right now.

But, hey, it’s INTERLEAGUE PLAY!

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 have dropped four of five, including three of four in St. Louis. It wasn’t really a painful series in the “oh, so close” kind of way. It was just painful because it was a Cardinal whoopin’.

The Astros have actually won six of eight, so maybe they don’t need a Cubes series after all.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, June 21 at 1:20 CT on CSN.
  • Saturday, June 22 at 3:05 CT on WGN.
  • Sunday, June 23 at 1:20 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 (1-1, 4.98), Travis Wood (5-6, 2.74), Jeff Samardzija (4-7, 3.35)

Lineup:

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

Astros

Starters: Dallas Keuchel (4-3, 4.23), Bud Norris (5-7, 3.64), Jordan Lyles (4-1, 3.22)

Lineup:

  1. Brandon Barnes, CF
  2. Jose Altuve, 2B
  3. Jason Castro, C
  4. J.D. Martinez, LF
  5. Carlos Pena, 1B
  6. Jason Maxwell, RF
  7. Matt Dominguez, 3B
  8. Ronny Cedeno, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

I can’t tell you anything about Starlin Castro that you don’t know already. He’s struggling, and he looks awful doing it.

Alfonso Soriano is also quietly in a deep slump, hitting just .114/.111/.136 in his last 11 games, complete with 15 strikeouts.

Travis Wood is on a hot streak. One that lasts the entire season.

The Astros don’t have too many hot pieces at which to point, but their starting pitching has actually been great for a while. You can just look at those ERAs above and get a sense of it.

Jordan Lyles has a 128 ERA+ and is just 22.

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 Astros 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.

It’s big man Jose Altuve, in a picture from Ohio.com:

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