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Cincinnati-Reds-Mr-RedThe Cubs head home after a short road trip to host the Cincinnati Reds.

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 lost the finale, but they took their most recent series from the Cardinals, who are two games up on the …

Reds, who’ve slipped into third in the NL Central after sitting on top for a fair bit of the first half of the season. They’re still comfortably in Wild Card position, but, at just five games behind the Pirates, I’m sure they’d like to make a run soon. They’ve won four of five.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, August 12 at 7:05 CT on CSN+.
  • Tuesday, August 13 at 7:05 CT on CSN, MLBN.
  • Wednesday, August 14 at 1:20 CT on WGN.

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 (7-8, 3.04), Jeff Samardzija (6-11, 4.23), Chris Rusin (2-1, 3.08)

Lineup:

  1. David DeJesus, CF
  2. Junior Lake, LF
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Welington Castillo, C
  5. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  6. Starlin Castro, SS
  7. Donnie Murphy, 3B
  8. Darwin Barney, 2B
  9. Pitcher

Reds

Starters: Mat Latos (11-3, 3.21), Homer Bailey (7-10, 3.73), Bronson Arroyo (10-9, 3.51)

Lineup:

  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/Xavier Paul, LF
  8. Devin Mesoraco, C
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Welington Castillo is as hot as anyone, hitting .405/.536/.619 in his last 15 games.

Anthony Rizzo has just one homer in his last nine games and a mere .135/.179/.243 line. But, to illustrate the problem of arbitrary endpoints, he had three homers in the two games that preceded that stretch.

Joey Votto is essentially never not hot, and he’s leading the league in OBP (.437) for the fourth straight season.

After a breakout 2012 season at age 26, Todd Frazier is hitting just .232/.325/.381 this year, including a .201/.301/.306 stretch in his last 39 games.

Mat Latos has a 1.73 ERA since the All-Star break, but he’s still missing a T in his first name.

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 a familiar-familiar face:

 

  • Indy57

    “Uh, your toothpick is down there.”

  • Curt

    glad yr back Brett hope the vacation went well but while you were away the nice did play time to get em back in line lol.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Curt.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Zack CoZart is the worst 2 hole hitter in baseball. Campana has a better career OBP than Cozart.

  • cub2014

    Brett,
    I take it Watkins cant play 3rd base?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m sure he can (he’s mostly played middle infield in the minors), but Sveum seems to really like Murphy.

  • Rich

    as we are playing the Reds, gotta tell an encounter story with Dusty..
    I see a lot of Cubs games in Pitt ( my buddy lives there ) and stay at the Cubs hotel..( my own personal Cubs convention )..

    After the game late . late..walk into this greasy spoon of a restaurant….with all the fellow too much beer drinkers..

    who is in line DUSTY BAKER…I walk in like I know, him..not hi Mr. Baker..no..hey Dusty what is up….he is buying these ridiculously large pickles..( he’s been there before )…

    I offer to buy it for him , cause I am a Dusty fan…and he denies me that…but was able to chat with him for about 10 minutes..very nice guy…

  • cb
  • MoneyBoy

    Lemme see … Yeah, get me the lefty. He was our number one pick two years ago. Lemme see how quickly I can blow HIS arm out!!

  • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

    So I’m sure I’m not alone here when I say that I’m a big fan of Darwin Barney’s glove. However, this year, I am not a big fan of his bat. I’ve been attentive when it comes to watching games and I’ve noticed that he makes a lot of contact, but a lot of them don’t end up translating into hits. I thought it was a bit peculiar, so I did some research and noticed that he has a criminally low BABIP. He’s been hitting a tad better over the past month, but he has a .229 BABIP this year. Does anyone think that it’s more so a lack of “luck” than it is skill that his stats have diminished? He’s on pace for topping his record in RBI, home runs, and extra base hits. I doubt he’s likely to become part of the “future” of the Cubs with players like Alcantara, Baez and many others who are likely to push him out of the infield, but I figured this was worth mentioning.

    • CubFan Paul

      “Does anyone think that it’s more so a lack of “luck” than it is skill that his stats have diminished? ”

      It’s because he has a double play swing. He’s just not good enough offensively.

    • Cubbie Blues

      He puts a lot of balls weakly into play because he doesn’t have a good batter’s eye and he has ridiculously good contact skills. For his career he makes contact with 82.6 % of pitches *outside* the strike-zone.

      • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

        His ratio of hits vs extra base hits this year is greater than it has been in years past. He DOES hit a lot of weak double play balls, but he is hitting for “increased” power for hits. I asked the question “Does anyone think that it’s more so a lack of “luck” than it is skill that his stats have diminished?” I think the answer is a bit of both lack of luck and weak DP balls. The one thing that really aggravates me is that he’ll swing at balls far out of the strike zone on full counts. I’m not sure if he’s protecting the plate, or afraid to strike out, but it’s maddening. For a few weeks earlier in the season, he was seeing the ball relatively well, and his average/OBP started to increase a bit. He seemed more confident at the plate, and he wasn’t hacking desperately at balls when the count was full. I’m sort of surprised they haven’t tried sitting him more often to give him some rest and maybe clear his head. They’ve played 117 games, and I believe he’s played 101. Most of the games he’s missed were the early injury from spring training. I know his defense is fantastic, but something needs to change offensively. It’s a topic I figured a somewhat “in depth” analysis of a player who may or may not become a future piece would be interesting to talk about.

  • Jim Gillmeister

    Caption -
    You know, I just don’t understand this A-Rod fuss. Heck, when I managed Barry, I’d shoot him up myself!

  • Sorianofan1999

    Caption- “Every time he comes out here, it’s the same old story about his grandmother’s false teeth……….”

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