pittsburgh-piratesThe Cubs put a damper on the Reds’ NL Central hopes this week. Will they do the same to the Pirates? Do you really want them to?

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 yesterday, but they still took two of three from the Reds in Cincinnati.

The Pirates just swept the Rangers after being swept by the Cardinals. They stand just a game behind the Cardinals in the NL Central. Again, I ask: do you really want the Cubs to spoil things for the Pirates?

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Thursday, September 12 at 6:05 CT on WGN.
  • Friday, September 13 at 6:05 CT on CSN.
  • Saturday, September 14 at 6:05 CT on CSN.
  • Sunday, September 15 at 12:35 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.


Starters: Chris Rusin (2-3, 2.89), Jake Arrieta (2-2, 4.28), Scott Baker (0-0, 0.00), Travis Wood (9-11, 3.05)

Lineup (kind of nuts):

  1. Starlin Castro, SS
  2. Luis Valbuena, 3B/Darwin Barney, 2B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  5. Donnie Murphy, 3B/Ryan Sweeney, CF
  6. Junior Lake, LF-CF/Brian Bogusevic, LF
  7. Welington Castillo, C
  8. Darwin Barney, 2B (or Castillo if Barney’s up top)
  9. Pitcher


Starters: Jeff Locke (9-5, 3.23), Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.44), Gerrit Cole (7-7, 3.48), Francisco Liriano (16-7, 2.92)


  1. Starling Marte, LF
  2. Neil Walker, 2B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  6. Garrett Jones, RF
  7. Russell Martin, C
  8. Jordy Mercer, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Scott Baker gets his second start, and it’ll come against a better lineup this time out. We’ll see how he looks, regardless of the results.

Starlin Castro’s last 17 games is a doable .268/.329/.408. The OBP features two HBP in that small span, though.

Andrew McCutchen’s 161 OPS+ leads the league, in case you were wondering.

Justin Morneau is hitting a very new-Morneau-like .313/.421/.375 since coming over to the Pirates last month. And in very limited action since coming to the Pirates, Marlon Byrd is still doing suprising things: .321/.368/.509.

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.

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.


  • Mr. Mac

    Looks like the parrot has a bag of the blue stuff! Heisenberg!

    • MightyBear

      “It’s the BOMB!” – Jesse Pinkman

  • MightyBear

    No. I love the Cubs but I hope they get swept by the Pirates. I want the Pirates to win the Division over Cincy and the hated Cardinals. Also, the Cubs are 4th in the reverse standings. They can’t catch the Astros or even probably the Marlins, but they could catch the Sox and they’re only 1/2 game ahead of Brewers for 5th and 2.5 ahead for 9th. They need to lose a lot of these games left. I believe they are up to the challenge.

  • Frank

    As much as I want the Cubs to win, I hate the turdbirds a million times more. I hope Baker has 7 shutout innings, bring in the bullpen and serve up a half dozen gopher balls. Help the Pirates win the division.

  • waittilthisyear

    must resist urge to remark about black man chasing a chicken…damn, blew it

  • Funn Dave

    My ideal situation: we take two of three from the Pirates, and the Shitbirds lose their next three, leaving the Pirates and Shitbirds in a tie atop the Central and the Cubbies feeling confident after two series wins.

    • Funn Dave

      Oh wait, it’s a four-gamer. Well that complicates things.

  • udbrky

    It feels like teams like the Cubs are that opponent in Risk who is down to like 3 countries, with 10 armies total and keeps rolling sixes against the players who still have a chance to win at this time of the year.

  • cubzfan23

    Im pulln for pirates to go the distance!

  • Mat B

    I’d be happy if the Cubs win one, but the Cardinals get swept wherever they are playing.

  • MoistassAlou

    Throw all the games against the Pirates….hell get a hot dog vendor to pitch if we have too. Man ……anyone but the Cardinals. I’m so sick of that same old song and dance…

    • willis

      Ha, awesome name.

  • MoistassAlou

    Hehe….thanks willis!!

  • jaslhill

    I am actively rooting against the Pirates, for one reason: they had issues to address at the deadline, and did not make the moves needed to address them. They did finally trade for Byrd, as OF was their biggest need, but they did it a month too late. Had they got an OF sooner, I feel like the possibility of them being up in the division would have gone up significantly.

    In my opinion, when you are in it, you need to be all in and make the moves needed to put your team over the top. This applies especially to the Pirates, who fell flat on their faces last year and need to avoid that this year.

    So, it’s all-out, go Cubs, I hope they sweep them. Hopefully, they will learn from their mistake.

    • MichiganGoat

      So you’re rooting for the Cardinals… hmmmmm smh

      • chrisfchi

        blasphemy! burn them at the stake!

      • mjhurdle

        absolutely unforgivable.

        he is now on probation. Any further incidents of Cardinal love and he will have his fan card revoked.

      • jaslhill

        Nope, rooting against them both. So, go Reds and … err, Nats, I guess?

        • MichiganGoat

          Well since you are rooting for the Cardinal & Reds I have one question: Have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? You seem to love the color red. 😉

    • jh03

      You do realize that the Pirates were willing to be “stupid” in going after Stanton, right? Reportedly, they started it off by letting the Marlins pick between Cole and Tallion (plus more, obviously). The Marlins just wouldn’t do it. They didn’t just sit on their hands and do nothing. They were extremely active on the trade market, but it takes two to tango.

      • terencemann

        I’m guessing the Giants fans wish their team hadn’t gone “all in” when they traded Wheeler for half a season of Beltran in 2011…

        • jh03

          I will never, NEVER, understand that trade. I didn’t get it at the time, I don’t get it now, I won’t get it 30 years from now.

          • terencemann

            “Flags fly forever” is the answer. Also, they probably didn’t expect Tim Lincecum to become a 4th starter.

      • MichiganGoat

        And they’ve done an impressive job with thier August wavier trades.

        • jh03

          Yeah, I really like what the Pirates did this August. And who’s to say that they don’t make a push for Stanton in the offseason now? Wouldn’t that be scary…

      • jaslhill

        It sure does. And, in my opinion, if the Pirates did not walk away with a quality OF’er they did not do enough. Easy to look back and say, “We gave up Wheeler for Beltran?” Sounds crazy two years later, sure.

        But, teams have a responsibility to go for it. Pirates fans deserve more.

    • MightyBear

      Personally I think the Pirates were genius this year. They didn’t make any moves at the deadline and didn’t lose any prospects. Then they made moves after the deadline when the trading teams were desperate. They got Byrd, Morneau and others and didn’t really give up much (from what I read). They were patient and did pretty well.

      • jaslhill

        While losing in the standings and putting themselves in a bad position. They’ve played close to .500 ball since Aug. 1. I’d be ticked if I were a Pirates fan. And, if they don’t make the postseason next year, double it.

  • Carne Harris

    What started as a playful cotton candy theft ended in a national debate over stand-your-ground stadiums.

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  • cub2014

    I love Svuems lineup, put two worst OBP
    guys 1 and 2 in front of the only guy who
    consistently drives in runs, then bat 4 or 5
    (if you got’em) left handed hitters in a row.
    this time of year not as important but he
    has done it all year? Lake at #2 spot????

  • ruby2626

    Funny story, a few weeks back my 10 year old ended his Little League season as a St. Louis Cardinal. While we were walking to the car he takes off his Cardinal shirt and tosses it into the garbage can and proclaims he never has to wear that shirt again. Needless to say I was never more proud of him. A few days later we got to the bleachers just when they were opening, While the Cubs amazingly didn’t hit a single ball into the right field stands I struck up a conversation with one of the Cubs on the warning track. Couldn’t really tell who it was since they were wearing jackets (might have been Arrieta) but I told the player what my son did with the Cardinal shirt and asked if that wasn’t worth a ball. Sure enough the guy tosses my kid the ball. Needless to say that made my kid’s day.

  • Sully

    I can never root against the Cubs. Just aint right. Believe me, I want the Pirates to win the division all the way.

    • C. Steadman

      Im with you…I always root for them no matter what..but ill admit when they have lost games the past several seasons im not that upset bc it got us baez, almora and bryant

  • BlameHendry

    If the Cubs got swept by the Pirates, it’s a win-win-win situation for me. Cubs advance in the reverse standings, the underdog Pirates will get a better chance at a division title (which I’d be really for them), and it makes things harder for the Cardinals and Dusty Baker’s team.

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