It’s time for the Crosstown series. I’m old enough to remember when there wasn’t a trophy given out by an oil company that was then hastily replaced by a bank in sponsorship land. Who cares — the entire thing is overhyped by 21-year-olds on Twitter who are finally able to drink legally.
Maybe the legalization of weed will mellow everyone out. For once.
2021 Cubs: 71-91, 4th in the NL Central
The 2021 Cubs began their downslide that we all know has been coming since the 2016 World Series. It was the second time they failed to make the playoffs since 2014, and the baby bears finished 24 games back from first. It was also a notable season as Tom Ricketts gutted the team and sold it for parts at the trade deadline. Javier Baéz was off to the Mets, Kris Bryant to the Giants, and every mom’s favorite Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees. They also dumped Craig Kimbrel in our backyard for Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer, probably as revenge for the whole Eloy thing.
The 2021 season was notable for a few other reasons, too. It was when the Cubs began to field a veritable lineup of Some Guys(™) and set an MLB record for the most players used in a season by a single team (69, heh); Len Kasper departed for greener pastures of the White Sox radio booth and was replaced by Boog Sciambi; Theo Epstein said goodbye to the Ricketts shenanigans in order to take on MLB shenanigans (what does it say about your organization when Rob Manfred is the preferred choice?). Before the season started, the Cubs parted ways with Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr., Yu Darvish, and Victor Caratini.
David Ross continues to be their manager. The Cubs appear to have taken their managerial hiring practices from the Wilpons in placing a former player in the role that they can boss around.
2022 Cubs: A veritable group of Some Guys(™)
I was recently in Milwaukee for the Brewers/Cubs game and I have to say there were about five people on that Cubs team whose names I knew. There are only a very few teams that have that kind of low name recognition for me (the Orioles and the Pirates being two) so this tells us that the Cubs are firmly dedicated to 1) rebuilding or 2) using the team as a tax write-off so they can buy a soccer team in England.
Dealer’s choice on the reason.
The regular cornerstones of the Cubs, Kyle Hendricks and Willson Contreras, have been having a rough go of it so far this season. Hendricks finished April with a 5.47 ERA (not the worst he’s had in April) and gave up four home runs in 24 2⁄3 innings. Contreras, meanwhile, isn’t throwing anyone out (just two out of 12 attempts), so steal baby, steal.
The addition of Seiya Suzuki was supposed to have been the injection of new talent the Cubs were looking for. Unfortunately for them, he’s having a struggle adjusting to the new ballparks, pitchers, and everything else. Cubs fans shouldn’t be worried there, though. Suzuki is incredibly talented.
The Cubs are 9-13 so far, setting them in a solid third in the NL Central. When all is said and done, they should thank their lucky stars that their division includes the Reds and the Pirates
Pitching Matchup: Two Aces, a Smyly, and Hendricks
Tuesday is going to be Michael Kopech vs. Drew Smyly. Kopech has been cruising along pretty well this season so far. He’s 0-0 with a 1.42 ERA. Smyly is posting a 1-2 record and 2.79 ERA. Both have gone about 19 innings so far this season and have a four-pitch arsenal, Kopech’s including the 4-seam, slider, changeup, and curve while Smyly has a 4-seam, cutter, slider, and curve.
Wednesday will see Lucas Giolito vs. Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks is not having a good start to the season, going 1-2 and posting a 5.47 ERA over 24 2⁄3 innings. Giolito is 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA over 14 innings. Giolito’s arsenal includes a 4-seam, slider, change, and curve while Hendricks has a 4-seam, sinker, change, and curve. The sinker is Hendricks’ main pitch (33.5%) and if that isn’t working for him this season, it’s a big opportunity for the White Sox offense. If the offense shows up.
Bird App: Why we hate
Not enough characters to describe all my reasons. I will keep it short.— Richie 2 Sox (@LodiDodi17) May 2, 2022
Me to that club… pic.twitter.com/HMN0301TP8
The Ricketts, the smell of Wrigleyville, people that bought Addison Russell jerseys, and that “better than you” mentality some of their fans have.— Chrystal O’Keefe (@chrystal_ok) May 3, 2022
The Cubs themselves? meh. The Fans, now that is where hatred exists.— The Soxside Boys 2.0 (@Soxsideboys_) May 2, 2022
One of many reasons why I hate the Cubs pic.twitter.com/fb7aPNqc71— Brandon Stokes (@ChiSoxStokes) May 2, 2022
To quote my gramps: “no matter where you travel, there’s always some idiot in a cubs hat.”— Simi (@the_simster) May 2, 2022
The fact that the fans still make dumb attendance jokes as if their park hasn't been half full all year so far— Matt Carlson (@mattcarlson53) May 2, 2022
For bringing that fratboy/backwards hat/jorts energy to Boystown.— White Sox Twitt3r's Heel Turn (@SoxTwitt3r) May 2, 2022
They’re owned by the family from Succession.— Bill Koester (@Billy_dk_89) May 2, 2022
Their ownership and what they did to the neighborhood— Kelly McCarthy (@mcKmarth) May 2, 2022
Michael Barrett https://t.co/jKMtKJIp0J— We Probably Should’ve Given Bryce Harper His Money (@BigMacSauce16) May 2, 2022
silver spoon yuppies, frat boys, & cops (often all at once) complacent w/ losing up until they hung a banner on the backs' of domestic abusers. Even after '16, the lame barbs about attendance & ticket prices remain bc @ their core they're barely even baseball fans to begin with— SoxOptimist (@OptimistSox) May 3, 2022
Because they won’t honor one of their greatest players in their history, Sammy Sosa. It’s shameful of them— Herb Lawrence (@Ecnerwal23) May 3, 2022