Before getting to the game, a few crosstown evaluations:
While we White Sox fans may excoriate Jerry Reinsdorf for penuriousness, arrogant decisions (TLR, anyone?), and the inexcusable extortion that has the taxpayers of Illinois supporting his billionaire life, compared to the owners of the Cubs — from the absolutely vile patriarch to his not-far-from-the-tree sons (and this was before their ploy this week to turn Wrigley Field into a mere backdrop for a garish sports betting edifice) — Jerry is an absolute saint.
And while we may disdain Ken Williams and Rick Hahn for some of their softheaded decisions on the way to forming today’s team, compared to the alleged collection of geniuses running the Cubs, who not only just let go the faces of their franchise and core of their team and then blamed the players for wanting to be paid market rate, but set it up so all those stars would become free agents at the same time, Ken and Rick are downright brilliant.
As for this series, the White Sox are solid favorites in all three games, and, on paper should sweep, but on paper they should have swept Kansas City and Cleveland as well, which makes all that paper worth as much as the famous ones verbal contracts are written on.
At first glance, today’s game could have the look of a pitcher’s duel. At second glance, though, unless the White Sox offense remains moribund, the dueling could all be on one side ... that being the side that has Lance Lynn on the mound.
That’s because while the Cubs are starting their ace, his aciness is somewhat in question. Kyle Hendricks is a very solid 13-4, tied for the major league lead in wins, particularly excellent since he pitches for a weak team, but there seems to be some luck involved. Hendricks’ 3.71 ERA, his worst since 2015, is okayish, but he has a 4.67 FIP, worst of his career by a very wide margin.
Hendricks is a primary reason the phrase “crafty righty” should get more play. He throws a sinker 40% of the time and changeup 27.4% and his pitches never approach the 90 mph mark.
The White Sox lineup is very interesting, since Hendricks has normal platoon splits, to the point lefties are hitting him at a .290 clip, but the HOFBP is sending up as many righties as he can, including the first five in the order. Maybe he wants it to be a pitchers’ duel, with Lynn again providing his own best offense.
Lynn, who would be leading the majors in ERA were he not a few innings short of qualifying, will, of course, be facing a Cubs lineup without Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant or Javy Báez, which seems downright weird. Instead the lineup is mostly players American League fans have never heard of.
Not having noticed they’d shipped out the faces of their franchise, the Cubs have the cheapest seats available going for a mere $109. Acknowledging reality, StubHub is charging less than half that for better seats.
First pitch is scheduled at 1:20 p.m. Central, with a 12 mph wind from the southwest, which means aiming at the scoreboard, so dingers are on the radar. Usual broadcast suspects.