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mariners logoThe Cubs swing out West to take on a little of the American League. We’ll get to see a DH this series, and it figures to be Alfonso Soriano. He’s tended to do well in that role, and the Cubs could stand for him to do well again this time around.

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 just took two of three in Milwaukee after taking two of three against the Astros. This is not a good Cubs team, but it’s good enough to beat bad teams.

The Mariners dropped a short two-game set with the Pirates this week, and have lost seven of ten overall. Like the Cubs, the Mariners are 11 games under .500, and are far from being competitive in the AL West.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, June 28 at 9:10 CT on WGN.
  • Saturday, June 29 at 6:15 CT on FOX.
  • Sunday, June 30 at 3:10 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: Travis Wood (5-6, 2.85), Jeff Samardzija (5-7, 3.39), Edwin Jackson (3-10, 5.84)

Lineup:

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

Mariners

Starters: Hisashi Iwakuma (7-3, 2.26), Aaron Harang (3-7, 5.29), Jeremy Bonderman (1-1, 3.30)

Lineup:

  1. Endy Chavez, RF
  2. Nick Franklin, 2B
  3. Kyle Seager, 3B
  4. Kendrys Morales, DH
  5. Raul Ibanez, LF
  6. Justin Smoak, 1B
  7. Michael Saunders, CF
  8. Mike Zunino/Henry Blanco, C
  9. Brendan Ryan, SS

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

As noted above, Alfonso Soriano will get some heavy DH duty this weekend, and hopefully it’ll get him out of his slump. He sat on Wednesday and Thursday.

Starlin Castro is batting .400 since getting a day off on Tuesday. Ok, so it’s just two games. But it’s a start. The last time he had four hits over a two day span? May 26 and 27. Yo.

He doesn’t play much, so it’s hard to have a gut feeling on whether he’s still struggling: if you excise Scott Hairston’s atrocious April, he’s hitting .190/.274/.397 this year. Which is. Well. It’s still pretty bad. Then again, his BABIP this year is an hilariously low .132. He’s on the lower end for his career – .273 – but that’s some crazy bad luck. Indeed, the bad luck bounces pretty much seem to be the only problem for him this year – his walk rate is up, his IsoP is normal and his K rate is normal.

The Mariners have quietly had one of the best starting pitchers in baseball over the past couple years. No, I don’t mean Felix Hernandez – that would be the Mariners loudly having one of the best. I mean Hisashi Iwakuma, who sports a 2.26 ERA this year and 0.885 WHIP, which leads the league. He also leads the league in K/BB at a mind-popping 5.65. This is a serious Cy Young candidate.

Like shag carpet or flip flops, Raul Ibanez is timeless. At 41, his .243 BA and .289 OBP don’t do much for you. But his 18 homers are ridiculous.

The Mariners are reclaiming Jeremy Bonderman (quite well so far).

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 Mariners 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.

The Mariners have a mascot. He is a moose. He does stuff (from the Spokesman):

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