St_Louis_CardinalsThis is it, friends. The last series of the year, and it comes against the hated Cardinals. Were the Cubs modestly competitive this year, perhaps the series would feel a bit more exciting. As it stands, the best the Cubs can hope for is a sweep of the Cardinals, which pushes them into a tie with the Pirates for the division (if the Pirates can win out). It’s something, at least.

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 avoided the sweep by the Pirates this week, which was good in some ways. Probably less good in other ways, like …



As noted above, the Cardinals are three games up in the NL Central, and have a magic number of one. If they win a single game or the Pirates lose a single game, that’s all she wrote.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, September 27 at 7:15 CT on CSN.
  • Saturday, September 28 at 6:15 CT on WGN.
  • Sunday, September 29 at 1:15 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 (9-11, 2.98), Edwin Jackson (8-17, 4.74), Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.33)

Lineup:

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

Cardinals

Starters: Lance Lynn (14-10, 4.09), Joe Kelly (9-5, 2.81), Adam Wainwright (18-9, 3.01)

Lineup:

  1. Matt Carpenter, 2B
  2. Carlos Beltran, RF
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Matt Adams, 1B
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. David Freese, 3B
  7. Jon Jay, CF
  8. Pete Kozma, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Although it may seem like he’s turned things around a bit, it’s worth pointing out that Starlin Castro’s September line stands at just .250/.298/.344.

Unfortunately, Anthony Rizzo isn’t any better for the month: .236/.310/.337. Not a great way for either of these guys to close out the season.

Did you know that Brian Bogusevic has a .278/.331/.481 line in 145 plate appearances with the Cubs this year? The BABIP is a little higher than his career norm, and the K rate is higher than you’d like to see, but with good outfield defense, I’d say he’s emerged as a quality bench option for 2014. Makes you wonder what happens with Ryan Sweeney’s free agency and Junior Lake’s future role. As much as I like all of them as bench pieces, a starting outfield of, say, Bogusevic-Sweeney-Schierholtz is going to disappoint a lot of folks, even with optimal platooning.



Adam Wainwright’s ERA has been steadily climbing since the first week of July. In that time, his ERA is 3.90. Not bad, but not ace-level.

Matt Adams – just another dude churned out by the voodoo magic machine – is hitting .338/.363/.675 in his last 21 games.

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 Cardinals 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 the Cardinals, and it’s the last series of the year, so this is just a weird one …




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