The Cubs took a pair from the White Sox on the South Side last month.
Right after that series, the Sox traded away seven players who were on their 26-man roster, six pitchers and infielder Jake Burger. So you might not recognize several of the Sox players coming to Wrigley Field for this two-game set.
The editor-in-chief of our SB Nation Sox site South Side Sox, Brett Ballantini, is away. Instead, here’s a missive from one of South Side Sox’ managing editors, Chrystal O’Keefe:
As I sit here, nearly halfway through August, I reflect on the White Sox season. I didn’t have the highest of hopes after a pitiful offseason, and knowing people like Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams still have a say in day-to-day operations. But I always returned to the novel idea of how this team still looked good on paper, so long as the superstars stay healthy. Neither of these ideas would be based in any sort of reality. Upon more reflection, I realized this season put me through all five stages of grief.
Denial and isolation
Denial manifested with ease. The White Sox actually won a game against the reigning champions, the Houston Astros. Baseball fans everywhere watched the national broadcast. It was big, and it was a good sign of things to come, until it wasn’t.
Once the team spiraled into a losing streak, I spent nights hunched over at my desk with only the harsh light of my laptop across my face. I spent hours analyzing what went wrong each game, scouring Baseball Savant and listening to blithering idiots on the post-game show. I imagine my children and husband would walk by the cracked door and just sigh.
The haze was finally clearing up. The White Sox would play flawlessly against some of the best teams in the league, only to be humiliated by the bottom-dwelling Kansas City Royals. The analytical side of my brain was no longer receiving oxygen. The very snarky post-game articles increased as I harnessed everything I learned in the myriad of creative writing classes I’ve taken. How does one write about this team daily without using the term “hot garbage” night after night? There is no eloquent way, so I took my anger out by coming up with clever ways to express my disdain via writing, and a lot of complaining to my friends that were kind enough to nod and smile.
I’ll admit this was the hardest stage for me. Jake Burger was up after not making the Opening Day roster, only to cover for an injury. As Yoán Moncada was nearing a return, Burger, as the kids say, was cooking. He had more than just earned a spot in the starting rotation, but carried the team during a time where the offense couldn’t be bothered. Tim Anderson was ice cold. Eloy Jiménez was hurt. And then out of nowhere had his appendix removed in Cincinnati. I was at that game, and I blame the chili for his trip to the emergency room. I tried to warn newcomers of the chili, but was a day late for Jiménez apparently. But again, we’ve got Burger. Zach Remillard, a 29-year-old rookie, came up and turned into an RBI merchant. Is this fun? Will the White Sox finally turn it around? Spoiler alert: they did not.
It all really hits the fan as the trade deadline looms, and eventually passes. The White Sox send veteran arms to the likes of Los Angeles-centric teams. Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez left the same way they arrived – together. Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly were welcomed by the Dodgers. It stung quite a bit after growing to love that quad.
Then, as the deadline drew near, the lineup was quickly changed and my phone lit up. Jake Burger to the Miami Marlins. I slammed my laptop shut, trying to decide if I should call in sick, my symptom – disgust. To add to the pain, the Marlins immediately celebrated his first start with a $5 burger special, and Burger was beaming in the post-game interview while happily announcing he enjoyed playing fun baseball.
Did it stop there? Of course not! Keynan Middleton, another reliever that was sent to the New York Yankees at the deadline, shared very unsettling remarks about the clubhouse. Lynn chimed in from LA in agreement. There is no leadership, just a bunch of rockstars destroying an expensive hotel room. Comments continued as more people familiar with the team would chime in, and the tension buildup finally erupted shortly after the Cleveland Guardians squashed the no-hitter dreams of Michael Kopech. Yes, I’m referring to the gloves dropping at first base leading to Anderson being KO’d by José Ramírez.
This team is not only playing poorly, but are now the laughingstock within Major League Baseball.
As I sit here writing this with the White Sox playing the Milwaukee Brewers in the corner of my screen, I’ve come to the realization that it’s just baseball. Teams are going to be awful, and we’re not dead last at least, right? It’s not a fun time to be a fan of the White Sox. It might be even worse to be someone that covers this team multiple days a week.
Your Cubs have turned a corner and I’m glad one Chicago fanbase is having fun right now. Just know that fun baseball is fleeting, so enjoy the wins when you get them. You never know when it’ll turn into bad fundamental baseball.
To the Crosstown we go.
Thanks to their 7-3 and 10-7 wins on the South Side, July 25-26, the Cubs have a chance to sweep the season series against the White Sox.
They have done that only twice: in 1998, the second year of interleague play, when they won all three games at home, and in 2013, when they went 4-0, with two wins at each site.
The Cubs are 32-37 at home vs. the Sox, worse than their 35-36 on the road. They have lost the last five at Wrigley Field, three in 2021 and two last year, by a combined score of 28-13.
Besides 2013, the only time the Cubs have won the only two games at home was in 2016, when they lost both on the road. They went 1-1 in 2017 and 2019, and 0-2 in 2014 and last year.
The Cubs were 3-0 at home in 2005 and 2008. They went 1-2 and 0-3 on the road those years.
(Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
Probable pitching matchups
Tuesday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (4-6, 3.96 ERA, 1.124 WHIP, 4.19 FIP) vs. Touki Toussaint, RHP (1-4, 4.22 ERA, 1.336 WHIP, 4.48 FIP)
Wednesday: Marcus Stroman, RHP (10-8, 3.85 ERA, 1.236 WHIP, 3.58 FIP) vs. Mike Clevinger, RHP (5-5, 3.55 ERA, 1.297 WHIP, 4.59 FIP)
NOTE: At the time this series preview posted, Stroman was expected to be activated from the injured list for Wednesday’s start. Oddity: This will mean the same two pitchers who threw against the White Sox last month will start these two games.
Times & TV channels
Tuesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, NBC Sports Chicago (Sox announcers)
Wednesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, NBC Sports Chicago (Sox announcers)
Since these teams last met, the Cubs are 11-6 and squarely in playoff contention. The Sox are 6-10 over that span and just got swept by the Brewers and looked bad doing it.
The Cubs will take these games and complete a season sweep of the Sox, as noted above, the first time they’ll have done that in 10 years.
The Cubs have Thursday off, then host the Kansas City Royals in a three-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Friday afternoon.
How many games will the Cubs win against the White Sox?
This poll is closed