The Crosstown Cup is upon us, and the Cubs and White Sox will split a couple home dates apiece between Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field. I liked it better when it was six games, spread out over two distinct series, but whateves. I’ll be in town for part of this series, but scheduling/family sickness issues will preclude me from going to any games except the finale on Thursday at the Cell. That should be fun, though.
The Series Preview gives you the rundown on what you need to know for the upcoming series. In that way, it’s kind of a preview. About a series. See how that works?
We’re Going Streaking
The Cubs won a series! Last night’s frustrating loss obscures it a little bit, but the Cubs did win the first two games against the Cardinals. Hooray!
The White Sox have dropped four of five after a nice little start to the season, and just lost a three-game set to the Indians. The South Side club is 15-17 on the year, good for third place in the AL Central, but five games behind the Tigers.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, May 5 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
- Tuesday, May 6 at 7:05 CT on WGN.
- Wednesday, May 7 at 7:10 CT on CSN, ESPN.
- Thursday, May 8 at 7:10 CT on WGN.
Expected Starters and Lineups
These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.
Starters: Jeff Samardzija ( 1.98 ERA, 3.28 FIP; 2.38 K/BB), Edwin Jackson (5.24 ERA, 3.66 FIP; 1.53 K/BB), Travis Wood (3.35 ERA, 2.92 FIP; 5.29 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (0.00 ERA, 1.63 FIP; 3.50 K/BB)
Lineup (with obvious rotations in place):
- Emilio Bonifacio, CF
- Luis Valbuena, 2B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Nate Schierholtz, RF
- Mike Olt, 3B (maybe?)
- Welington Castillo, C
- Ryan Kalish, LF (Junior Lake will play, also)
- Pitcher (the Cubs’ DH will depend on matchups, but it’s a short bench, so there are only so many options)
Starters: Jose Quintana (4.00 ERA, 3.55 FIP; 3.56 K/BB), Hector Noesi (7.20 ERA, 2.53 FIP; 3.00 K/BB), John Danks (5.00 ERA, 4.80 FIP; 1.05 K/BB), Scott Carroll (0.68 ERA, 3.81 FIP; 1.00 K/BB)
- Alejandro De Aza, LF
- Gordon Beckham, 2B
- Jose Abreu, 1B/DH
- Adam Dunn, DH/LF(? lulz)
- Dayan Viciedo, RF
- Alexei Ramirez, SS
- Jordan Danks, CF
- Tyler Flowers, C
- Marcus Semien, 3B (Pitcher spot at Wrigley, obviously)
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Anthony Rizzo over his last four games: .455/.667/1.273 with 3 homers and 7 walks. Swoon.
Jake Arrieta was fantastic in his season debut against the Cardinals, and I look forward to seeing if that carries forward. A few starts like that one, and the dreaming will begin.
Nobody needs a breakout game quite like Nate Schierholtz, who is hitting just .202/.220/.245 on the year.
After a mixed start to the year, Mike Olt’s season has unfortunately slid in a very unmixed place: he’s hitting .097/.171/.194 over his last 10 games, with 15 strikeouts in his last 35 plate appearances.
The most amazing part of Travis Wood’s success this year? He’s doing it despite a .325 BABIP against, some 60 points higher than his career average. That’s partly due to a (so far) career-high groundball rate (40%), but it’s also probably a bit of bad luck. He could actually see positive regression from here.
Yes, Jose Abreu has been fantastic this year, hitting .258/.319/.617 with a league leading 12(!) home runs. Fun statistical factoid on him: his BABIP (.256) is actually lower than his batting average (.258), despite a 24.8% K rate (you would expect his batting average to be way lower than his BABIP in that situation). How is he pulling it off? It’s those 12 homers. He’s only got 21 other hits! He’s got as many homers as singles!
Also posting huge numbers this year: Alexei Ramirez (.374 wOBA), Adam Dunn (.398 wOBA), and Dayan Viciedo (.395 wOBA). The latter two wOBA figures are actually higher than Abreu’s (.393). Of course, each of those three has a BABIP about 70 points higher than his career average, but who’s counting?
The White Sox will be without Chris Sale in this series, as he recovers from some arm soreness. They’ll also be without center fielder Adam Eaton, who’s on the DL with a hamstring issue. Young outfielder Avisail Garcia is already out for the year, so they’ve been missing some good players already this year.