On paper, the probable pitching matchups heavily favored the Chicago Cubs in this year's Crosstown Classic. After two games, Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks were outpitched by Miguel Gonzalez and James Shields.
I guess that's why they play the games.
While the taste still lingers a bit for White Sox fans, Shields continues his streak of quality starts as he pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings and David Robertson closed for his 24th save as the White Sox beat the Cubs, 3-0.
Coming into the game, Hendricks had an opportunity to make history. Already at 20 scoreless innings for the month, he just needed to pitch into the sixth without allowing an earned run to become the first pitcher in major league history not to allow a run in the month of July. That attempt at making history was dashed in the first inning. Adam Eaton started the game with a lead-off walk and followed by a Tim Anderson single that just scraped Cubs shortstop, Addison Russell's glove. With runners on first and second, Jose Abreu drove in his 56th run to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, Hendricks hung a changeup over the plate that Eaton smashed for his seventh home run, making it 2-0. Hendricks would leave in the sixth inning after Todd Frazier's flare to right field was just missed by Cubs first baseman, Anthony Rizzo. Two outs in the inning, manager Joe Maddon replaced Hendricks with Travis Wood. After a stolen base by Frazier, Wood lost his command by walking the next three batters, and the Sox increased their lead to 3-0.
Not a huge amount of run support, but it was more than enough for Shields, who kept Cubs hitters off rhythm with his fastball/changeup combo. The final line is just okay as he allowed four hits and walked four batters to just five strikeouts. What was impressive is that three of his strikeouts were against NL MVP candidate, Kris Bryant. Also, Shields was able to avoid runners in scoring position, as the Cubs only had three opportunities, which they came up hitless. In the last seven games, opponents are 0 for 32 with runners in scoring position against Shields.
In his last six starts, he has been the pitcher that Rick Hahn hoped he was acquiring back in May.
James Shields last 6 starts (all quality starts)— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 27, 2016
1.71 ERA, 42.0 IP, 32 Hits, 12 BB, 21 K, 6 HR#WhiteSox