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Know Your Enemy: Chicago Cubs

The White Sox are back home to take on the Ivy Munchers

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After a quick pit stop in Tampa and Toronto, the White Sox are back home on the South Side for the next edition of the “Crosstown Classic” or whatever name advertisers have decided on this year. The Cubs are so broke, they still didn’t get pants for Clark.


Last time

Right before the last series at Wrigley the Cubs blew up their team spectacularly by trading away just about everyone except Willson Contreras, so the White Sox actually faced off against the Iowa Cubs. The difference between the Iowa Cubs and the Chicago Knights (heh) and even the Mets bench mob is that the Iowa Cubs, well, suck.

Cubs fans tried to make a joke about the fact that the “Iowa Cubs took the White Sox into the 10th” during the opening game of the series, which isn’t a valid joke because, see above. Things were going well that day until Craig Kimbrel came in during the eighth and forgot which team he played for, managing to blow a three-run lead. Carlos Rodón pitched the next day and struck out 11 in five innings and the Cubs were blanked, 4-0. The sweep was completed when Eloy Jiménez drove in five runs with a double and two home runs (thanks, Cubs!).

If there’s one thing Tony La Russa knows how to do, it’s win at Wrigley.

How it’s going

Well, Jed Hoyer said some garbage about Anthony Rizzo because why wouldn’t you kick a beloved player out of the city and trash him on his way out? The Cubs also managed to lose 13 games in a row at home, which was a franchise record despite their, uh, “colorful” history. Despite being fourth in the NL Central, the Cubs do not have the worst record in that division because they play in the same division as the money-laundering scheme known as the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Only two top batting stats are led by current team member Contreras, batting average (.226) and OBP (.333). Home runs and RBIs are led by Javier Baez (22 and 65, respectively), hits by Kris Bryant (87). You get to decide which of those two former Cubs is contributing best to his new team, and which one is not.

The current Cubs roster is a venerable who’s who of Some Guys and “that guy is still around?” but don’t fear, White Sox friends. I’m sure one day the Cubs will be back in some kind of fighting form. Dying quail maybe.

In the last 20 games, the Cubs are 4-16, and they’re 23-41 on the road. They’re also 3-10 in interleague play. Since the All-Star break they’re slashing.237/.304/.396 as team.

David Ross better start updating his resume, because if recent events are any indication he’s not long for this franchise.

Pitching matchups

Today is going to be Dallas Keuchel vs. Keegan Thompson. Keuchel has had some very public struggles on the mound this season, giving up a career-high 22 home runs and posting a 4.71 ERA in what is obviously an off-season for him. He’s 2-1 against the Cubs with a 3.04 ERA, having faced them four times in his career. In his last seven starts he’s 1-4 with a 5.87 ERA, so facing off against the wounded Cubbies may be the boost he needs.

Keegan Thompson debuted on May 2 and is 3-3 over 44 23 innings this season with a 2.42 ERA. He’s 0-1 in his last two starts, going 7 23 innings while striking out 44 and walking 24, giving up 35 hits. Thompson relies on four pitches: 4-seam fastball, cutter, curveball, and changeup.

Saturday is Lance Lynn vs. Alec Mills. Lynn is 10-3 this season with a 2.20 ERA. In his last seven starts he’s 1-0, having last gotten a win against the Brewers in July. Against the Cubs, he’s 0-1 with four no-decisions over his career.

Mills is 5-6 this season over 86 13 innings with a 4.76 ERA. He’s 1-4 in his last seven starts with a 4.64 ERA and has never faced the White Sox as a starter, Mills relies on five pitches: sinker, changeup, 4-seam fastball, slider, and curveball.

Sunday will be Kyle Hendricks vs. Dylan Cease. Cease has been having the best season of his career (also the first full season of his career). He’s 10-6 over 137 23 with a 3.92 ERA. In his last seven starts he’s 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA, and managed to hold the Blue Jays to four hits and one run while striking out seven in his last appearance.

Hendricks is the solid ace for the Cubs, with a 14-5 record and 4.09 ERA. He’s 2-1 in his last seven and 1-3 against the White Sox with a 3.41 ERA. Hendricks relies on four pitches: sinker, changeup, 4-seam fastball, and curveball.

Why we hate them