Crosstown Series Preview: Cubs at White Sox, August 27 - August 29, 2021

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Crosstown Series Preview: Cubs at White Sox, August 27 – August 29, 2021

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs and White Sox are back at it again this weekend, this time on the Southside.

And I’m actually pretty excited about this series, all things considered. Andrew Romine could get another chance to homer off Craig Kimbrel. Codi Heuer could show the White Sox what they gave up. The designated hitter is available. Keegan Thompson is pitching. Sunday’s matchup is Dylan Cease vs. Kyle Hendricks. And so on. There’s just a lot of fun stuff baked in. And in a season where the Cubs are no longer competitive, sadly, this sort of series is as close to making me watch and actually hope the Cubs win as it gets.

After this series, however, it’s back to #tankseason. The Cubs will face the Twins and Pirates in back-to-back series, and the Cubs are currently tied with the Twins in the reverse standings.

But that’s a discussion for another time. For now, for this weekend … GO CUBS.

We’re Going Streaking

Since the start of the last crosstown series, The Chicago Cubs (56-73) have gone 4-15, dragging their run differential down to -100 (bottom 5 in MLB) and their record to 17 games under .500. Over that same stretch, however, the Chicago White Sox (74-55) have gone just 11-9, including those first three wins against the Cubs.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

•   Friday, August 27th at 7:10 CT on MARQ, NBCSC, MLBN, 670 The Score
•   Saturday, August 28th at 6:10 CT on MARQ, NBCSC, 670 The Score
•   Sunday, August 29th at 1:10 CT on MARQ, NBCSC, 670 The Score

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Keegan Thompson (R) vs. Dallas Keuchel (L)
Game 2: Alec Mills (R) vs. Lance Lynn (R)
Game 3: Kyle Hendricks (R) vs. Dylan Cease (R)

Chicago Cubs

•   C – Willson Contreras
•   1B – Frank Schwindel
•   2B – David Bote
•   3B – Patrick Wisdom/Matt Duffy
•   SS – Sergio Alcantara/Andrew Romine
•   LF – Ian Happ/Patrick Wisdom
•   CF – Rafael Ortega
•   RF – Jason Heyward/Michael Hermosillo
•   DH – Wisdom? Schwindel? Contreras?

Unavailable: Dillon Maples, Nico Hoerner, Willson Contreras (could be back), Adbert Alzolay, Jonathan Holder, Nick Madrigal, Jose Lobaton, P.J. Higgins, Kohl Stewart, Brad Wieck

Chicago White Sox

•   C – Yasmani Grandal*
•   1B – Jose Abreu
•   2B – Cesar Hernandez
•   3B – Yoan Moncada
•   SS – Tim Anderson
•   LF – Eloy Jimenez
•   CF – Luis Robert
•   RF – Andrew Vaughn
•   DH – Jimenez/Abreu

*Returning tonight.

Unavailable: Billy Hamilton, Adam Engel, Jimmy Cordero, Evan Marshall

By the Numbers:

Run Differential:
Cubs: -100
White Sox: +130

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.17
White Sox: 4.91

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 4.95
White Sox: 3.91

Keep An Eye Out For …

Jose Abreu has been very good all season, but especially hot lately. Since the start of that last White Sox-Cubs series, Abreu has slashed .309/.360/.617 (163 wRC+) with 7(!) homers and four doubles in fewer than 90 plate appearances.

Dylan Cease struck out 10 Chicago Cubs batters the last time these two teams met, though he did also allow 3 earned runs over 5.0 innings. His last start, against the Blue Jays, was pretty solid: 7.0 IP, 4H, 1ER, 1BB, 7Ks, but he has allowed four homers in his last three starts, alone.

I was at Keegan Thompson’s first start as a member of the Cubs rotation last weekend, and let me tell you what: it was *insanely* hot and humid. Like, truly, unbearable. And after learning about how Justin Steele had to ditch his slider because of the sweat on his hands a couple weeks ago, I wonder what, if anything, Thompson was dealing with. Either way, I’m just excited to see him give it another go.

Frank Schwindel is still at it. He’s got a four game hitting streak (6 total hits) and is now slashing .323/.374/.586 (154 wRC+) past the 100 PA threshold with a strikeout rate under 20%.

Ian Happ’s last 105 PAs: .258/.343/.516 (130 wRC+) look good, but it’s very heavily weighted towards his last 47 plate appearances: .357/.426/.738 (205 wRC+) … which includes a 10.6% walk rate and a 25.5% strikeout rate. By contrast, the first half of that stretch is nice, but was not good: 69 wRC+.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami