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It was probably around the time that an anemic Chicago White Sox offense was getting absolutely owned by Wade Davis that I decided to pull the trigger on chronicling the paths of these two Chicago baseball teams. We have ample evidence to know what we won't say aloud: Chicago baseball is dead.
I don't know when she died exactly, it's entirely possible it happened in 2008 when Chicago baseball won 1 playoff game out of the 7 they played that year. The Cubs went 0-3 against the Dodgers and the ChiSox managed to win one against Tampa Bay.
Regardless, these limp husks of former giants limp on as two heritage franchises face difficult rebuilding process. The Cubs are already in year 2 of their tear down. The process is thus far, as advertised. The club is signing older major league assets and flipping them for minor league currency in an effort to compete by 2015.
The Cubs find themselves with a cache of power bats throughout their system which is something of a commodity given the dearth of true power in the game today. The season in terms of wins and losses is a forgettable one thus far, the major league club was giving Marmol the ball in high leverage situations which tells you all you need to know about the state of their major league record.
The White Sox find themselves at a crossroads of sorts. They've yet to fully commit to a full on rebuild, but staying the course doesn't seem like a viable option either. Paul Konerko put it best:
"The rumors haven't effected this team. We were shitty before all the rumors."
As of writing Jake Peavy is still a White Sox but that can all change over the next few days as the trade deadline draws nearer. The White Sox have valuable assets that can bring back considerable returns, the issue is whether Rick Hahn can maximize his return on those assets.
This space will be used as a weekly round up of sorts on both teams as they continue to get rid of familiar faces and retool for what both fanbases hope is a return to prominence.
Chicago Cubs - 48-55 (5-2)
The Cubs traded two valuable players for considerable returns in Alfonso Soriano and Matt Garza. Soriano's departure hit the clubhouse hard. Starlin Castro and Sori had developed a true student-teacher relationship and the bromance stories are all leaking out in the wake of Sori's trade to the Yankees.
Taking Matt Garza's spot in the rotation was Chris Rusin who did yeoman's work in 5 innings. The Cubs ended up splitting the series with the Diamondbacks which was utterly forgettable.
Instead let's talk about something that hasn't happened in awhile.
I'm reaching for the asprin as a familiar feeling takes over my body. My breathing is accelerated, I feel my heart pounding against my rib cage. This feels like a movie, this shouldn't matter this much but it does.
J. Borbon singled to shallow left
I can see this happening on my screen but there's a disconnect between my brain and what is going on in San Francisco. I've seen this before. This is a #FakeRally. This isn't real. No way. I won't get fooled.
D. Navarro walked, J. Borbon to second
I'm reaching for the Pepto Bismol. My stomach is doing 720 rpm right now. My small TV screen has to be lying to me, fear is gripping my heart and I'm nervous. This is a new old feeling, the nervous anticipation of every pitch. It's almost as though this matters.
D. DeJesus struck out looking
Ah. See, there. That's the familiar feeling of a let down. My blood pressure is returning to normal. There is no anger, only acceptance of the inevitable. The water I'm drinking is a cool 40 degrees and everything around me is calming down.
J. Lake grounded into fielder's choice, J. Borbon to third, D. Navarro out at second
One more out until the #FakeRally is done. I don't even care that the runners advanced, or that the Cubs can possibly win this with a clean hit and a clean 9th by Kevin Gregg. There's Anthony Rizzo, and then the old feelings take over as he works a deep count on Sergio Romo. Rizzo steps out, I can see him winking at me. Rizzo steps back into the box cool as the water I was drinking. He has a blue aura pulsating around him, it's visible to the naked eye. He takes another ball and gives a boyish smile full of #charm and #sparkle. He's glittering 'neath the skylights at AT&T Park, he's telling me with his eyes "Mauricio, this is for you."
A. Rizzo safe at first on first baseman B. Belt's fielding error, J. Borbon and J. Lake scored, A. Rizzo to second
I jump out of my chair and I do the EmJeff fist pump, except you know, with a 3" vertical. Rizzo is at second and he waves to me. I wave back and he nods, and mouths "you're welcome."
And that was the second most exciting game of the series.
The Cubs were fun again for a weekend. In an odd stroke of luck they were actually outscored by their opponents on the roadie and still came away with a winning record. Nate Schierholtz hit a fairly dramatic homerun, Pedro Strop's #tilt reigned supreme, and while I doubt this propels them to do anything of significance it was fun to see them play well again.
3 vs. Milwaukee
4 vs. Puig Destroyer
Chicago White Sox - 40-62 (1-6)
The White Sox are built around pitching and it's been good this year. Chris Sale is absolutely shoving regardless of his W-L record. Jose Quintana is once again using an impressive array of tricks to get batters out and Hector Santiago is emerging as a viable starter. Great pitching has been wasted on an awful offense, however.
Offensively the south siders have been brutal all year, there's no way around it. The only players on the roster with an OPS+ over 100 are Alex Rios, Alejandro De Aza, Gordon Beckham and Adam Dunn. The White Sox scored 17 runs this week which works out to 2.43 RPG.
They bested Verlander but that was the lone bright spot in a forgotten week. White Sox hitters wasted a brilliant Chris Sale start (9.0/7/1/1/1/7) on Saturday as they came up empty against Wade Davis and the bullpen.
No the biggest news out of White Sox camp was that Jake Peavy is about to get traded. As of writing he hasn't been yet, but it will be interesting to see what Rick Hahn can get for Peavy.
4 @ Cleveland
3 @ Detroit
On the DH
I'll have expanded thoughts on this, but while I'm talking about both an AL and NL team let me just say this: I know the DH is coming, and I'm not gonna fight it too hard, but don't pretend like the over specialization of baseball is a good thing for the game. I know the arguments, and I'll concede the "MORE OFFENSE" part, you'll get that. But I like baseball because you have to play both ways. I don't like the footballization of the game folks.
I'll see you guys next week.