The Cubs begin play today 6½ games better than the White Sox (46-38 to 39-44).
It is a mark of how closely these two teams track each other that there have been just three other occasions in the now 19-year history of this rivalry where the Cubs have been that much better than the Sox -- 1998, when the Cubs were heading for a wild card and the Sox were awful, 2001, when the Cubs briefly contended and the Sox collapsed after a division-title year, and 2007, when the Cubs were on their way to a division title and the Sox headed for a 90-loss season.
So it would appear that when these two clubs meet and the Cubs appear to be the superior team, it could be a playoff year on the North Side. The Sox have been pretty good lately, winning seven of nine games since June 30, but the Cubs are 7-3 in that same span.
The White Sox lead the all-time series between the two clubs 52-46. But over the 98 games, the Sox have outscored the Cubs by a total of just 11 runs, 456-445.
This ought to be a good series. It will feature three very good pitching matchups. Perhaps it will even live up to the hype.
Here is your once-a-series reminder about SB Nation's partner daily fantasy game, FanDuel. If you want to participate, here's the link.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Soler RF, Denorfia LF, Castro SS, Teagarden C, Hendricks P, Russell 2B
The White Sox lineup was not available at the time I wrote this preview. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the White Sox lineup.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Kyle Hendricks has, after a rough start, begun to show the promise he began his career with last year. Over his last nine starts (55⅓ innings) he has a 2.93 ERA and 1.030 WHIP, with just eight walks over that span. He hasn't allowed any runs over his last two starts covering 13⅓ innings, with just two walks and 12 strikeouts. He has never faced the White Sox or anyone on their roster.
Carlos Rodon was the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 draft, taken one pick ahead of Kyle Schwarber. Many thought that if Rodon had dropped to the Cubs at No. 4, they would have selected him. Up to now, Schwarber, Rodon and Brandon Finnegan are the only players from the 2014 first round who have played in the big leagues. Rodon has made some decent starts, but over his last four has a 7.32 ERA and 11 walks in 19⅔ innings. Overall he's walked 35 in 60⅓ innings this year and a patient team like the Cubs ought to be able to take advantage of that.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago. In Chicago it is also on WGN with the Sox announcers.
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The 2015 Game Thread procedure has changed a bit. Here's how it will work going forward.
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.