new-york-yankees-logoThe Chicago Cubs have played four series this year, and have lost all four 2-1. At least that can’t happen in this series, right?

Bright lights, big city for the Cubs, who head to New York to take on the Yankees in a two-game set. Today’s game is in honor of Jackie Robinson, and the players will be wearing number 42.

The Series Preview gives you the rundown on what you need to know for the upcoming series. In that way, it’s kind of a preview. About a series. See how that works?

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs can’t seem to get over the series hump, and have lost two in a row. Those came in St. Louis, which sucks, and brought the Cubs’ record to an ugly 4-8 to start the year.



At 7-6, the Yankees are actually tied atop the AL East standings right now (Blue Jays are also 7-6), and just took three of four from the Red Sox. I suspect it’s nice to win a series against your rival, but I can’t be certain.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Tuesday, April 15 at 6:05 CT on CSN.
  • Wednesday, April 16 at 6:05 CT on WGN, MLBN.

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: Jason Hammel (2.63 ERA, 4.81 FIP; 5.50 K/BB), Travis Wood (2.92 ERA, 2.64 FIP; 4.25 K/BB)

Lineup (it’s also moving):

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF/2B
  2. Junior Lake, LF (or Luis Valbuena or Ryan Kalish)
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B (or Justin Ruggiano, when he’s in there)
  4. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  5. Starlin Castro, SS
  6. Mike Olt, 3B
  7. Welington Castillo, C
  8. Darwin Barney, 2B
  9. Ryan Kalish, DH (that’s what I’d do, anyway)

Yankees

Starters: Masahiro Tanaka (3.21 ERA, 2.63 FIP; 18.00 K/BB), Michael Pineda (1.50 ERA, 2.71 FIP; 6.00 K/BB)

Lineup:

  1. Brett Gardner, LF
  2. Carlos Beltran, RF
  3. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  4. Alfonso Soriano, DH
  5. Brian McCann, C
  6. Yangervis Solarte, 2B
  7. Kelly Johnson, 3B
  8. Someone will play first base, but I have no idea how they’ll handle this
  9. Dean Anna, SS (if Derek Jeter is still out)

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Although he was 0-4 in his last game, Starlin Castro is hitting .394/.412/.636 over his last eight games.

Nate Schierholtz was also 0-4 in that finale against the Cardinals, but he hit .538/.538/.769 in the previous three games.

Hey, how about Junior Lake and Mike Olt? Easing them into things seems to be working so far, as they’re posting 122 and 102 OPS+, respectively.



After his incredible start, Emilio Bonifacio came down a bit in his last three games, notching just one hit. He got the last game off, so it was a full two-day rest for him.

The Yankees are dealing with a myriad of injuries in the infield, which makes their lineup tough to predict. I really have no idea who’ll play first base in this series.

Uh oh – Alfonso Soriano is in one of those patented hot stretches. After going 0-16 in his first four games, Soriano has hit .345/.406/.724 in his last eight. But, wait a minute! He was 0-4 in his last game, which means he’s back on the cold streak, right?



The Cubs naturally get the Yankees’ two best starters in this series, in Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. The former will be the subject of many articles (did you know the Cubs wanted Tanaka but didn’t get him?), and the latter is actually a pretty nice comeback story.

The Yankees bought them some bats this offseason, but so far, it’s been a mixed bag:

  • Brian McCann – .205/.239/.364
  • Jacoby Ellsbury – .362/.423/.447
  • Carlos Beltran – .311/.347/.622

It’s early, obviously, but I suppose if you were evaluating today, the Yanks would take two out of three any day of the week.

As a team, the Yankees are hitting a robust .273/.335/.427 (113 OPS+).

Note: As you’re just now noticing, the Series She-View has been retired for the 2014 season. I know for some of you this will be a disheartening development (and I’d encourage you to take it to the Message Board if you’d like to continue the tradition). It was just time to move on.


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