In this midwest, the crosstown battle between the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs, we will see two teams face off that are going in completely opposite directions.
The Chicago Cubs are just about one week removed from the absolute fire sale that they held for the entirety of the MLB to witness, trading away key players from their World Series run a little more than a few years ago.
Kris Bryant is now a San Francisco Giant, Anthony Rizzo is a Yankee, and Javier Baez joined his good friend Francisco Lindor and the New York Mets. All three of those players played an integral part in leading this team to end their 108 year World Series drought, but after a struggling season, they are now gone.
The Cubs are 52-58 on the season, six games below .500, and have lost 7 of their last 10 games.
However, the White Sox have all but guaranteed their spot in the MLB postseason, as they continue to stretch out their ginormous lead in the AL Central. They are 9.5 games ahead of the closest team, the Cleveland Indians
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The White Sox are 63-46 on the season, and despite going 4-6 in their last 10 games which includes a series loss to the Royals this week, they have stayed put when it comes to their lead in the division.
Keys to Friday Night’s Game
This first game of the series will feature the strongest pitching matchup by far, as Lance Lynn takes the mound for the White Sox, and Kyle Hendricks will get the starting call for the Chicago Cubs.
Lance Lynn has been absolutely sensational this season. The AL Cy Young candidate is 10-3 on the season, boasting an ERA of 2.07. His stellar season has led to him signing an extension to stay in Chicago for the long term, giving him added security as he gets older.
The veteran left-handed pitcher has pitched 108.2 innings on the mound for the White Sox, allowing only 81 hits and 31 walks, while striking out 122 batters.
The Cubs will be looking for the best out of their ace Kyle Hendricks. While Hendricks’ ERA is very serviceable at 3.71, his record being 13-4 shows that this Chicago Cubs lineup hits the ball, and they hit it well when he is on the mound.
Granted, Bryant, Rizzo, and Baez are all gone, but Hendricks can win them games.
He has pitched 128.2 innings on the season, surrendering 138 hits, 25 walks, and only mustered up 94 strikeouts. Those numbers don’t jump off the page, so the Cubs lineup will have to pull through in this matchup.
Play ball! pic.twitter.com/Jo7eKv4lJt
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 6, 2021
But after the fire sale that the Cubs held, they have virtually nobody left to produce that offense for them. While they have been scoring a decent amount of runs as of late, they will most likely be relying on guys who do not have a lot of time at the plate this season, or guys who were at the bottom of their lineup, before the trades.
The White Sox on the other hand have one of the most consistent lineups in baseball, and it has only improved since the All-Star break addition of Cesar Hernandez. Despite the description of consistent that I just gave them, they have been shying away from the consistency lately, being held to 1 and 2 runs in the past two games, but having explosions of 11 and 7 in their last five.
Jose Abreu, Cesar Hernandez, Tim Anderson, and Yoan Moncada are sure to pick it up soon enough, and today can be the day versus Kyle Hendricks.
White Sox vs Cubs Preview | Prediction
It does not get more cut and dry than this game. The White Sox have playoff seeding to play for, and the Cubs are just trying to make it past this season and continue their new rebuild.
While Hendricks on the mound does give Chicago some semblance of hope in this game, he is completely outmatched by the White Sox ace Lance Lynn. Lynn’s ability to earn strikeouts and the Cubs’ high strikeout rate gives the White Sox a big advantage in this game.
The Cubs offense was not great prior to their trades of Baez, Rizzo, and Bryant, and with all three of their best hitters gone, there are some major holes in this lineup. They have ranked 25th in OBP and 23rd in OPS since those trades. With Lynn on the mound for the White Sox and their strong bullpen being healthy, this one has a potential shutout written all over it.
The White Sox will bounce back in this one, and start their momentum heading into the weekend.
Final Pick: White Sox -1.5 (-115)