What an oddball day for a Red Line Rivalry, White Sox fans. As the South Siders went for five in a row against the team with the worst active losing streak in the entire major leagues, the pressure was somehow on the better team.
Coming into tonight 10 games ahead in the AL Central, haters will say it’s because “they haven’t played good teams.” The South Siders put down the spanking last night, but because the Cubs’ everything-must-go franken-team is made up of mostly Triple-A players with second jobs, according to the cynics, the win doesn’t count because the White Sox allowed runs. Therefore, as we’ve seen, a win or a loss will be met with the same derision from South Side detractors.
And lose, we did.
Facing off on the mound tonight was Cy Young hopeful Lance Lynn (10-3, best ERA in the American League) against Alec Mills (5-6, full of ennui, probably emo), who must be regretting leaving the Royals, the team that has a better record than the Cubs even though they’re trailing 16 games behind the first-place White Sox. Luis Robert, who received his 2020 Gold Glove before the game, sat out this evening, and birthday boy Seby Zavala took his spot behind the plate as the greatly missed Yasmani Grandal stepped in as DH.
The foreboding black cloud over the Cubs didn’t stop them from getting runs off Lynn’s cutter, which was uncharacteristically off this evening. The Cubs squeezed out one early run off a bunt in the second inning, which could have been a play at the plate — but since it’s Seby’s birthday, we’ll skip the blame. Mills gave the White Sox his good stuff, and he looked like the no-hitter serving pitcher he was for that one game in 2020.
Perhaps the Cubs hits can be attributed to beginner’s luck from this panic-assembled scrap team, or maybe it’s the sheer desperation of overall loss. The White Sox took home the Crosstown trophy yesterday, and a postseason is all but in the bag with the magic number reduced to 24 tonight with a Cleveland loss. Conversely, the Cubs were coming in 14-41 in their last 55 games, and will have to go on a 24-7 run to finish the season without a losing record.
In this dark despair of loss, Patrick Wisdom, who looks like the pissed-off ghost of Jim “Catfish” Hunter, hit a solo homer off a Lynn changeup in the fourth inning, before the Cubs loaded the bases. This prompted pitching coach Ethan Katz to visit the mound and (probably) tell Lance Lynn that this game doesn’t matter, and that life is largely meaningless. A grand slam off the bat of Rafael Ortega put the Cubs ahead by six, with the White Sox still scoreless.
The louse living inside of Wisdom’s mustache rejoiced as he hit another solo dinger off of Lynn in the fifth, and that was the last of the North Side offense. As White Sox fans endured a clobbering by the Cubs on this mid-series Saturday night, we can at least celebrate the extension of International Pop Superstar Yoán Moncada’s hitting streak to 14 games, because that’s the only thing they earned. The Good Guys exhausted their offense yesterday with 17 runs, and even the strongest Cubs killers in our lineup failed to deliver.
Mills fell short of a complete game, being pulled after giving up a single and a walk in the ninth. The White Sox got to see now-Cub Codi Heuer for the final two outs of the ninth, and the game concluded as a shutout.
In the aftermath of this colorless contest, let’s take a moment to offer gratitude where it’s due. Thank you:
- Lance Lynn, for still having the lowest ERA in the American League at 2.59.
- Cubs, for Eloy and Cease, and (probably) Kimbrel and Tepera.
- Cubs Nation for being on life support and somehow still talking smack about the White Sox for allowing runs to score, or for not winning every single game. And for taking issue with White Sox wins by invalidating them with cognitive dissonance and lack of understanding about a win being a win. If you don’t get the irony in your refusal to acknowledge the winning White Sox, then it’s easy to understand your tolerance for being a Cubs fan.
But for those of you who are sick and tired of the mental gymnastics necessary to cope with the neverending loss, I offer an invitation to the previously-ardent Cubs fans — those who love baseball, Chicago, and who are legitimately there for the game, and not for the “culture” of getting Wrigley schwasted and horking in an antique piss trough — come on over, friends, because you deserve more than that. It’s fun to talk baseball with you, and we understand the frustration of questionable management decisions. You scoffed when you were told that being a Cubs fan wasn’t a club you could be in unless you gave even more money to a private network. You suffered through the racism and privilege of the rotten Ricketts, and you knew that giving the Cubs your money would be unethical at best, and sanctioning at worst. Your team’s owners decimated the dynasty and blighted the hope that was left, and here you stand on scorched earth, battered and bruised.
We have the salve. Follow the light, dear, lost souls. Just remember, no matter how much the White Sox win, they can’t ever win in the eyes of their naysayers, even while holding a World Series trophy in their hands. Prepare yourself for scorn, and give the Pale Hose permission to release you from your misery, if you can find it in your deepest inner self to shed the self-imposed identity of a baseball team you don’t play for and have nothing to do with in real life. It’s not a big deal to make the change to the White Sox unless you make it one.
Again, as Ethan Katz (probably) said to Lance Lynn in a nihilistic aside, “Life is meaningless.”
White Sox fans, thank you personally from me, Di Billick, for reading what I write about our favorite team. I’m delighted to be a new writer for South Side Sox, joining a team of considerably talented people, and I hope I have the privilege to report to you long into the postseason this year. And lastly, thank you, cynical White Sox misanthropes, AL Central opponents, and know-it-all huff-snuff hot dog b*tches. Your spite gives us great material.