Crosstown Series Preview: White Sox at Cubs, May 3 - May 4, 2022

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Crosstown Series Preview: White Sox at Cubs, May 3 – May 4, 2022

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs and White Sox will play each other four times this month, twice at Wrigley Field (tonight and tomorrow) and twice at Guarantee Rate in a few weeks. And wouldn’t ya know it, as of today … they have matching records! Twinsies!

In fact, both Baseball America and The Athletic have the Sox as the 19th best team in their updated Power Rankings with the Cubs at 21. And at FanGraphs, the Cubs (19th) actually outrank the White Sox (27th), which … LOL.

Now, we shouldn’t be laughing too hard, because implicit in that “LOL” is the fact that being as bad as the Cubs is, you know, embarrassing. But given the preseason expectations for both teams, well … let’s just take the wins where we can get ’em. And for any White Sox fans reading this, I’ll feign some objectivity: The White Sox have dealt with a ton of key injuries, and the Cubs odds of winning their division (1.2%) are nowhere near the White Sox (36.1%). There. Happy?

Drew Smyly and Kyle Hendricks are scheduled to pitch this week, which probably bodes well for the Cubs given (1) the White Sox struggled against LHPs, and (2) Hendricks preference to pitch at home. But the Cubs aren’t off the hook so easily. They drew Michael Kopech (1.42 ERA, 96 MPH fastball) and Lucas Giolito (2.57 ERA, 37.9 K%), which is no easy task.

Both pitchers have been giving up more than their fair share of free passes, so some passivity might actually be the right approach this week.

Alright, pausing there: After this quick two-game series, the Cubs have an off-day on Thursday (when I’ll be seeing the new Doctor Strange movie) before welcoming the Dodgers to Wrigley field over the weekend. After that, it’s off to the coast for three games against the Padres.

Tough stretch. Go Cubs.

We’re Going Streaking

After winning just three of their last ten games, the Cubs (9-13) and White Sox (9-13) are tied in the standings with nine wins a piece! Just like everyone predicted back in March! The Cubs, of course, just got their butts handed to them over three games in Milwaukee. And the White Sox split a four-game series with the Angels after their big eight-game losing streak came to an end.

Hot or Not and What to Watch

Alfonso Rivas has started only six games for the Cubs, but he has 9 hits (including a 2B and a HR) and four walks to his name. And with a couple of righties on the mound this week, we better see him in both games. We probably won’t, because we’re not allowed to have nice things. But we better!

Ian Happ has been the team’s best hitter over the last two weeks, slashing .270/.417/.459 (152 wRC+) with 10 walks against just six strikeouts! For the season, he’s almost even with 13BBs and 15Ks. It’s really been a wonderful transformation for him this season, even for a big Ian Happ stan like me.

Patrick Wisdom has kept on hitting lately (146 wRC+ over the last two weeks), but the strikeout rate has crept back up and these are some horrible matchups for him this week. Both Kopech (67.9%) and Giolito (48.7%) love to throw their four-seamer up in the zone, which is the primary weakness for Wisdom. For at least one of these games, the Cubs might need to start Jonathan Villar at third base, despite the defensive limitations.

Tim Anderson is riding a nice little hot streak, with 13 hits (2B, 2 HRs) in his last nine games. He hasn’t taken a walk in that stretch, but he’s also struck out only 3 times and is making a lot of loud contact.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

•   Tuesday, May 3 at 6:40 CT on MARQ, NBCSC 670 The Score, ESPN 1000
•   Wednesday, May 4 at 6:40 CT on MARQ, NBCSC, 670 The Score, ESPN 1000

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Drew Smyly (L) vs. Michael Kopech (R)
Game 2: Kyle Hendricks (R) vs. Lucas Giolito (R)

Chicago Cubs

•   C – Willson Contreras
•   1B – Frank Schwindel/Alfonso Rivas
•   2B – Nick Madrigal/Jonathan Villar
•   3B – Patrick Wisdom
•   SS – Nico Hoerner
•   LF – Ian Happ
•   CF – Jason Heyward
•   RF – Seiya Suzuki
•   DH – Rafael Ortega/Frank Schwindel

Unavailable: Wade Miley, Andrelton Simmons, Alec Mills, Clint Frazier, Ethan Roberts, David Bote, Adbert Alzolay, Brad Wieck, Codi Heuer

Chicago White Sox

•   C – Yasmani Grandal/Reese McGuire
•   1B – José Abreu
•   2B – Josh Harrison
•   3B – Jake Burger
•   SS – Tim Anderson
•   LF – Andrew Vaughn/AJ Pollock
•   CF – Luis Robert
•   RF – Gavin Sheets
•   DH – Reese McGuire/Andrew Vaughn/Yasmani Grandal

Unavailable: Joe Kelly, Yermin Mercedes, Lance Lynn, Yoan Moncada, Garrett Crochet, Eloy Jimenez, Jonathan Stiever

By the Numbers:

Run Differential:
Cubs: 0
White Sox: -21

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.36
White Sox: 3.27

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 4.36
White Sox: 4.23

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Author: Michael Cerami

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