Throughout the 20-year regular-season history of Cubs vs. White Sox, both teams have played better at times when they have been bad and the other team was in playoff contention.
2000. The Sox won the A.L. Central and the Cubs lost 97 games. Yet the Cubs split the six with the Sox, one of just four teams (Royals, Twins, Braves the others) they did not have a losing record against that year.
2005. The Sox won 99 games and eventually the World Series, while the Cubs had a disappointing 79-83 year. The teams again split the six games, with the Cubs winning the series on the South Side.
2015 and 2016. The Cubs made the postseason both years and won the World Series in 2016, but the season series between the two teams was split both times, with the White Sox winning the series at Wrigley Field in 2015.
So it certainly would be good for the Cubs to win this week’s series. But it isn’t necessarily an indicator of how either team’s fortunes will go the rest of the year.
Here are today’s particulars.
Zobrist RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Happ LF, Almora CF, Baez 2B, Russell SS, Lackey P
White Sox lineup:
Cabrera LF, Abreu 1B, Garcia RF, Davidson 3B, Moncada 2B, Anderson SS, Narvaez C, Engel CF, Rodon P
John Lackey vs. Carlos Rodon
John Lackey had a pretty good start in his first outing off the DL, last Tuesday against the Braves: five innings, one run. He threw quite well in his only start vs. the White Sox last year, July 28 at Wrigley Field: six innings, one run. He outdueled Chris Sale on that day, which is always an accomplishment.
For Lackey, if he can continue to eat innings while not giving up too many runs, that’ll be just fine.
The Cubs owe the White Sox a debt of gratitude for selecting Carlos Rodon with the third overall pick of the 2014 draft, one pick ahead of the Cubs. Had Rodon been on the board when the Cubs’ turn came, they almost certainly would have taken him instead of Kyle Schwarber.
And so it is that the Cubs have Schwarber and the Sox have an oft-injured lefthander who has not lived up to his potential, yet, anyway.
Rodon has yet to make 30 starts in a season, and this is his third major-league season, and another in which he spent time on the DL. He has two decent starts this year and two bad ones.
His only career start vs. the Cubs was a good one, though, one of the better outings of his career. It happened July 10, 2015 at Wrigley Field: six shutout innings.
Here’s hoping today for Rodon trends toward those bad starts.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside Cubs and White Sox markets) and WGN (with Sox announcers).
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The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. Here's how it works.
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.
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Discuss amongst yourselves.