wrigley stands crowdThe Chicago Cubs can’t “win” the Crosstown Cup, but they can split this four-game series with a win tonight.

To do it, the Cubs will have to take some serious cuts at Sox ace Chris Sale tonight in his return from a five-game suspension (a convenient length by his team, given this match-up with the Cubs). Sale took issue with the team’s throwback uniforms before his scheduled start last Saturday, and after failing to persuade the team to not force him to wear the uniform, he literally cut up his jersey as well as those of his teammates so that they couldn’t be worn. Sounds crazy, I know. Because it is crazy. But it happened.

Sale hasn’t quite been as dominant this year as in years past, though a lot of the down numbers come from one abysmal start against the Braves earlier this month. His next start – which was his last start, 10 days ago – was pretty much typical Sale.

We’ll see if Sale is hearing it from the Wrigley faithful tonight. I’ll be there in the right field bleachers (red and blue tie-dye shirt, jeans, phone in my face probably). Say hey. Let’s watch the game together.

On the other side of the bump, it’s John Lackey, whose numbers this year almost exactly match that of his dominant 2015 season (including an even better strikeout rate) with the obvious exception of an ERA that’s a run higher. How is that happening? Well, two ways: his left-on base rate is way up this year (to his career norm from a flukey low last year), and his HR/FB ratio is higher than it normally is.

If that latter one is going to return to the norm, he’ll have to stop a streak of seven straight starts giving up at least one homer.



Game Info

Chicago Cubs (60-40) at Chicago White Sox (50-51), 7:05 CT on WGN, CSN-C, 670 The Score.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so let’s have some nice, clean, safe-for-work fun, eh?

The Series Preview lives hereThe Lineup Discussion lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Cubs: John Lackey (R): 3.79 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 3.81 xFIP; 3.33 K/BB

versus

White Sox: Chris Sale (L): 3.18 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 3.69 xFIP; 4.45 K/BB



Chicago White Sox Lineup:

  1. Adam Eaton, RF
  2. Tim Anderson, SS
  3. Melky Cabrera, LF
  4. Jose Abreu, 1B
  5. Todd Frazier, 3B
  6. J.B. Shuck, CF
  7. Dioner Navarro, C
  8. Carlos Sanchez, 2B
  9. Chris Sale, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

  1. Dexter Fowler, CF
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Ben Zobrist, RF
  5. Willson Contreras, C
  6. Addison Russell, SS
  7. Javy Baez, 2B
  8. Matt Szczur, LF
  9. John Lackey, P



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