Slugging White Sox may be ready to eclipse Cubs in Chicago


CHICAGO – Like an aging award winner, the Chicago Cubs descended on the mats ahead of time on Sunday, winning 2–1 in the final game of their series against their arch-rivals, the Chicago White Sox. The latter team has become one of the derings of Major League Baseball, making its way into playoff contention for the first time in more than a decade.

The Cubs have recently won the title – won back in 2016 – and are now attempting a “final dance” with a veteran group that many say has since won that World Series Will be reduced Was there only one day of suppression for the Cubs on Sunday or could they make some headlines for themselves as the White Sox depart the South from their rebuild?

“The team is built and there is a lot of hype,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said after his Cubs dropped the first two matches of the series. “It’s hard to be on the other side of it, but when you see teams come together, it can be very scary.”

Horror is a good word to describe the White Sox ‘offense, which has set a major league mark by hitting 28 home runs in the seven-match period that ended on Saturday. The White Sox hit 12 home runs in a three-match series against the Cubs, which trailed the opposition 18-7. You might not know which team was first in the Weekend Series at Wrigley Field (it’s the Cubs).

“We have a lot of people you can put on your coat and they can take you off,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria observed. “We have been very fortunate. Hopefully this will continue and this is just a sign of things as we grow as a club.”

Renteria is in the midst of his second reconstruction in Chicago, overseeing the Cubs in 2014. He was jailed after a season in favor of Joe Madon, but returned to the city as a bench coach and then became manager on the other side. of city. Renteria now runs a powerful lineup, featuring dynamic young stars and stalwart stalwarts alike.

“There’s some damaging power in their lineup,” Friday’s losing pitcher John Lester said. “Then you mingle with a man like you [Yasmani] Grandal, [Jose] Abreu and edwin [Encarnacion] He is going to give you that bat to bat and means more to you. Their younger people are looking for mistakes, and they are not missing them right now. If you are not executing, they are going to pay you. It is an impressive lineup. You just hope the other guy doesn’t pitch [as well]. ”

Getting the White Sox out may be the best formula for them, as they lead the American League at home by a large margin. Young studs like Luis Robert and former Cubs prospect Eloy Jimenez had their moments during the weekend, but it was Abreu who took center stage for the White Sox.

For the difficult days of rebuilding the team, Abreau is now the legendary anchor in the midst of a disastrous group. He made it home six times over the weekend, reminding the city – and mass baseball – that the city has more than just a great first baseman. Said as much as the Rizzo of the Cubs.

“He does it every single year,” Rizzo said after Abreu’s three-homer game on Saturday. “He has been a staple there.

“He is one of the youngest first baseman in the game, in my opinion.”

While the White Sox are still flying high after the seven-game win streak ends on Sunday, many may wonder where the Cubs stand. They were the White Sox at one time, back in 2015, stepping out of their own remodeling, bound for playoffs and eventually World Series glory. But at times they find themselves like a shell. It is a testament to their leadership that they are in first place after a fast start despite having holes in almost every area of ​​their game. After their 5-7 homestand, the Cubs like to see the glass as being half full.

“It’s good, in general, when you’re not playing your best baseball to come away with some wins,” Cubs first-year manager David Ross said after Sunday’s series finale. “The way we played this homestand is not a sign of the ball club that we are.”

But ultimately, your record – or your stats – tell us who you are. In the Cubs’ case, they may be the worst offense in baseball – and last for many years. Once again, they have the ability to get a base, but are not able to drive home those runners as often as they want. The Cubs rank fifth in baseball in base-on percentage but 16th in batting average and 22nd in slugging percentage with runners on base. This is not a new phenomenon.

That’s why Cubs president Theo Epstein was hesitant when asked about his offense in the series against the White Sox.

“It’s an interesting question,” Epstein said. “We’re doing some things well and some areas are a very good place to improve. The big picture is that I really encourage our record of what it is and a lot of our best hitters right now. Haven’t come on track. They will. ”

That’s hope anyway, but there are very few indications – other than the Cubs’ ability to see pitches. At some point, payment needs to be made. The chief smugglers of almost all the cubs have an OPS under .800. Nothing is clicked again.

“We’re trying a lot right now,” said Cubs shortier Xavier Badge. “We care so much … I know it’s a short season and a lot of pressure because we have to get better in a short time.”

It is interesting how perspective can vary for two teams despite similar records. After their series win, the White Sox are 17–12. The Cubs are 17-10, but the team seems to be looking for answers.

The White Sox’s biggest concern over the weekend was what would 64-year-old long-time pitching coach Don Cooper dance after Saturday’s win? He chose Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” and then switched his way to White Sox lore. The perpetrators of the “Dancing for Dabbs” experience, catcher Zac Collins and second baseman Danny Mendick, were asked in a zoom call whether taking it to the Cubs at Wrigley Field held special meaning.

“Yes,” they answered together. “By the way, more fun. … We are trying to get this new energy, this new vibe and roll with it.”

Knowing how things go in baseball, it would be silly to anoint the White Sox as the next great thing and write to the Cubs right now, but from that assessment it seems that there is some inevitability to it. The Cubs have plenty of talent from top to bottom and on the roster, so a complete write-off – especially when they are in a slump – would not be fair.

But whatever is going on in Wrigleyville should not affect what the baseball world already thinks about the White Sox. Their offense is terrifyingly good – and the only pitchers in baseball who are cool with them are their own.

“It’s unbelievable,” said legendary White Sox pitcher Gio Gonzalez. “They are demolishing baseball.

“They must have been born next to a nuclear power plant. They are destroying baseball. It’s fun to watch. It’s literally fun to watch.”

The same was said about the cubs. But if anyone is writing to the Cubs soon, they will have one more shot at the team across the city. The final three games of the season saw two clubs face-to-face, who were largely on the line.

“They’re a good team,” Sunday’s hero for the Cubs, Kyle Schwarber, said of the White Sox. “There’s someone if, and, or about it. They are a good team.”

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