The temperatures were warm Sunday afternoon; the humidity high in advance of thunderstorms which are forecast to blow through the area Sunday night, and the wind howling straight out to center field around 20 miles per hour.
This, therefore, was one of those days when hitters even without a lot of power should have been thinking "home run." Who knew? Maybe even Tony Campana could have gotten a ball up in the jetstream for an outside-the-park homer.
Someone forgot to tell the Cubs about all of this, because all they could put up against Jake Peavy and three White Sox relievers were four singles and a double, widely scattered through nine innings. Oh, and five walks (one by Campana, the only time he reached base), just the eighth time in 41 games so far this season that Cubs hitters had drawn that many free passes. All of that resulted in zero runs.
Meanwhile, Gordon Beckham, Adam Dunn and Tyler Flowers all took advantage of the wind by smashing home runs. Beckham's and Flowers' hit Waveland Avenue, the one by Flowers bouncing off the building at the northwest corner of Waveland & Kenmore into a scrum that included BCB's ballhawk. It wound up in the hands of one of the junior ballhawks. That was about the most entertainment any Cubs fan could come up with as the White Sox shut out the Cubs 6-0, sweeping the series and sending the Cubs to their sixth straight loss.
The Cubs/White Sox interleague series was tied 35-35 in 2009. Since then, the White Sox have won 13 of 17; the Cubs have not won the season series since 2007. The White Sox actually have the best record of any team in baseball in interleague play since 2008, so it's not just the Cubs they are beating up on. Small consolation, I know.
What more can you say? Paul Maholm wasn't awful today, but the three home runs, all solo, gave the White Sox more runs than they needed. Dunn's home run, incidentally, came after he had been 3-for-28 lifetime against Maholm with 12 strikeouts coming into today. The dinger tied Dunn with Albert Pujols for the most home runs by an active visting player at Wrigley Field (27).
Another run scored off Maholm in the seventh inning, driven in by Jake Peavy on a force play, before Dale Sveum mercifully got him out of there. A sacrifice fly got the fifth run charged to Maholm, and then Rafael Dolis gave up the final run in a mopup outing in the ninth inning.
I found myself wondering why Casey Coleman, who pitched an inning Saturday night, was in the game again Sunday, considering that Randy Wells, who was recalled from Iowa to replace the retired Kerry Wood on the roster, had last pitched at Iowa on May 15. Why wouldn't you go with Wells in that situation? I realize Sveum doesn't have a lot to work with in the current bullpen, but that choice seemed strange.
Today's crowd was larger than I expected -- 38,374 announced -- and there were, in my estimate, very few no-shows. However, there seemed to be at least 500 empty seats in the bleachers, about 10% of the total, likely due to the high prices for bleachers for this game. I've talked a lot about how the Cubs pricing 13 games this high is going to drive down sales for some of these dates; today was one of them.
Don't know what else to say. The Cubs looked as listless as they've looked all season on Sunday afternoon. Now they head to Houston to play a team that was also expected to be awful this year. Thrills await, I'm sure.