The Cubs have just six games left in the season, and the first three come against the Pirates. It’s a series that means relatively little to the Cubs, but is hugely important to the Pirates.
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 two of three to the Braves, and are currently holding the fourth worst record in baseball.
The Pirates are tied with the Reds for second place in the NL Central, two games behind the Cardinals. With this series against the Cubs, and then the Cubs playing the Cardinals thereafter, the Cubs will actually play a role in settling the NL Central.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, September 23 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
- Tuesday, September 24 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
- Wednesday, September 25 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.
Starters: Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.42), Chris Rusin (2-5, 3.52), Jake Arrieta (3-2, 3.94)
Lineup (kind of nuts):
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Luis Valbuena, 3B/Darwin Barney, 2B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Nate Schierholtz, RF
- Donnie Murphy, 3B/Ryan Sweeney, CF
- Junior Lake, LF-CF/Brian Bogusevic, LF
- Dioner Navarro, C
- Darwin Barney, 2B
Starters: Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.35), Gerrit Cole (9-7, 3.23), Francisco Liriano (16-7, 2.88)
- Starling Marte, LF
- Neil Walker, 2B
- Andrew McCutchen, CF
- Justin Morneau, 1B
- Pedro Alvarez, 3B
- Garrett Jones, RF
- Russell Martin, C
- Jordy Mercer, SS
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Although he’s been better than some think, it has been a cold stretch for Anthony Rizzo. He’s hitting just .220/.301/.329 in his last 22 games.
Junior Lake is cooling considerably, with just a .509 OPS in his last 30 plate appearances. He’s struck out 14 times over that stretch.
Chris Rusin may be coming down/wearing down a little bit. He’s got a 5.49 ERA over his last four starts.
The Cubs get to face Francisco Liriano again after he nearly no-hit them last time out.
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.
Since it was just about a week ago, and there’s probably plenty more to say, we’ll just keep the picture the same for this one …