Series Preview: Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox
This is just another matchup of two mediocre teams, despite what you'll hear in the Trib and the Times. So, I'll give you a snappy little rundown of the Sox roster and then get to a more important point:
- Dye, Thome, and Konerko are, in order: good, good and decent. All three can cause pain
- Pierzynski is: douchebag
- Pitching is: not good.
So there you go. Your 2009 Chicago White Sox.
Here's what I'm more interested in: Kurt and Rob's take on a certain Kate and Leo vehicle and how it relates to the Cubs. While they're trying to feng shui their lost cause, I'm hanging with the band, playing as the ship goes down. And you know why I can do this? Because I know something they don't know: the ship isn't going down. And here's my reasoning:
Talent wins out.
The Cubs are playing way, way below their true talent level. And the thing is, everyone agrees with this fact. Everyone agrees that Uncle Milton is better than he's shown and that Geo has power (barring injury). Everyone knows that Soriano is just waiting for a hot streak. Hell, the one player we all doubted the most, Derrek Lee, is the guy who's finally remembered how to hit. The rest are just waiting for the hits to start falling in. And, in the case of Geo Soto, they have. Over the last two weeks, Geo has an OPS of .814. That's actually pretty good (and the .981 OPS over the last week: outstanding). Geo's on the upswing.
But yeah, Soriano and Milton continue to struggle and Fukudome and Theriot are in a slump. And the team, as we've seen, can't buy a run. And so, apparently, we decide we need to fire the manager or shake up the roster. On other sites, they suggest trading away our most talented pitcher. All because we're at .500 after a third of the season.
You know what I say to the .500 record at this point? Good. We should be damn happy to have a .500 record after losing our best player to a bad wing. Remember what happened in 2006 when Lee went down? And believe me, Aramis's replacements haven't been any better than Lee's were. We've had bootloads of injuries, and yet we are still afloat, one game out of the loss column. We have some of the best hitters in baseball unable to lay the good wood and still the rest of the Central has waited for us to figure it out.
Thanks, NL Central!
And so I will wait for Aramis to come back and let Fontenot slide over to his natural position (Fontenot, incidentally, has been everything we thought he would be over the last month), thus solidifying both the offense and defense with one move. I will wait for Soriano to start hitting again because he always begins to hit again. If he needs a DL stint, let him take that, then get back to hitting. Either way. Fun fact: during his massive slump, Soriano has a BABIP of .197. Granted, he's making things worse by swinging at whatever comes up to the plate, but he's also not getting any help from the Gods. It will turn around.
And Uncle Milton has only ever hit. And he will hit again. He will revert to his true talent level.
...as do we all.
I know this stretch of baseball is frustrating. I'm frustrated too (although clearly less so than most as exactly zero of my words required and astricks). But I'm going to try to ride this wave of bad baseball and look forward to the inevitable hot streak. The Cubs are too talented for it not to happen.
And if it doesn't turn around? If every single player has a career worse year? Well, I don't know what to say about that. I support the starting lineup Hendry has put together and I don't think you can anticipate everyone failing.
But the talent's there.
And talent always wins out.
So yeah, by all means, improve the bullpen and get us a real backup infielder. But blow up this team? You could do it. But you're not going to make it any better.
Okay kids, the comments are open. Feel free to call me Al Yellon, Part Deux.
Tuesday, June 16th - Carlos Zambrano vs. John Danks
Holy crap, welcome back Carlos. Carlos has been nothing short of magnificent in his last two outings since coming off the disabled list. In fact, except for one start in April where he gave up 7 runs (in 7 innings, mind you), Carlos has been every inch of an Ace. The sinker has been down recently and that should make for tough days for the Sox. The real key, of course, will be whether or not Carlos brings his A-game...to the plate. WE NEED RUNS.
John Danks is yet another mediocre pitcher in the long line of mediocre pitchers to face the Cubs of late. Maybe Von Joshua knows the secret to hitting crappy pitchers (seriously, Russ Ortiz owned us. So sad). John Danks also thinks Wrigley smells like pee. Your point?
Wednesday, June 17th - Randy Wells vs. Gavin Floyd
Alright, so fine. Wells is human. La Dee Da. That doesn't mean we don't love him and still expect great things out of him. When Well's control is on, he's one tough cookie (yes, true of most pictures) and I think his control will be on today. And no, I have no reason to think that. Except for BLIND OPTIMISM.
Wells will have to be perfect, though, as the Cubs are facing a pitcher with an ERA just south of 5. Good god, we'll never hit him! Yeah yeah, whatevs. We get it, the Cubs have no offense. Actually, Floyd has been pitching pretty well of late and so, when he shuts the Cubs down, it won't be humiliating in the usual sense.
Thurday, June 18th - Ryan Dempster vs. Jose Contreras
Nice to see Dempster back on it this last month or so. In fact, Dempster is earning every dollar of his contract and this fact is only being obscured by the fact that he's currently only the third best pitcher on the team (fourth, if Harden remembers how to pitch). Actually, with this team's pitching, we don't need out hitters to be great, we need them to be average. GOOD GOD, what I wouldn't give for average.
Contreras? He's still alive? Well, he isn't really very good anymore, so we should have a shot at him. Not that that ever helps. Stupid slumping offense.
As usual, with the Crosstown Classic, anything can happen. And I expect anything to happen. And everything. And a dash of something.
Maybe a little nothing.
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