Series Preview: Cubs (19-30) vs White Sox (24-24) – Two Teams, One Cup

seriespreview

Tim did a good job recapping his feelings about the so-called "Crosstown Classic" on Friday. I don't have much more to add, except that the Barrett-Pierzynski fight is one of my top ten favorite moments in the past decade or so of Cubs fandom (also making the list – Zambrano ejecting an umpire, Cubs four game sweep of the Brewers in 2008, the roughly 15 HRs that Rodrigo hit in that series, Ron Santo awarding Player of the Game to the intern that brought him some pizza, and ACB's homage to Sosa when he retired). My enjoyment of that moment had much more to do with Pierzynski being an asshole than any sort of team rivalry, however.

I'll combine both 'series' since they're back to back to one another

Team Overviews

Respective league ranks in parens

  Cubs Sox
wRC+ 90 (11th) 79 (15th)
BSR -1 (8th) -4.9 (13th)
UZR -0.6 (6th) 2.1 (8th)
DRS 1 (9th) 1 (8th)
SP FIP- 97 (6th) 91 (4th)
RP FIP- 110 (13th) 83 (5th)

I had no idea that the Sox offense had been so terrible. Alex Rios is pretty much the only regular position player that has had a good season, posting a wOBA of .380. Adam Dunn is having a brutal year, posting a .159/.254/.402 line. Overall, team OBP is at .296, even worse than the Cubs .300 mark. Jeff Keppinger has been similarly ice-cold, posting a Mather-esque .214/.221/.256 on the year, and 1B Paul Konerko seems to be finally succumbing to father time. 

Injury News

Fujikawa hit the DL again with another right forearm strain. He'd been back for a few weeks and was doing a pretty good job setting up Kevin Gregg, so this is a bummer. Shawn Camp is on the DL with a sprained toe and a case of cantpitchitis. 

For the White Sox, C Tyler Flowers has bene battling back spasms and is day to day. SP Chris Sale missed his last start with shoulder tendinitis, but is slated to pitch the last game of the series provided there aren't any setbacks. 2B Gordon Beckham suffered a broken hamate bone in early April. He was rehabbing this month, but was shut down after feeling more soreness in the hand. 

Random News

In case you missed it, there's been lots of jawing between the Cubs and Reds after yesterday's game. 

The Cubs claimed Orioles RP Alex Burnett off waivers today, and he's probably replacing Fujikawa on the roster. Burnett has a career FIP of 4.36 in 176 appearances, good enough to be exactly replacement level for his career. 

Albert Almora left today's Kane County game with an apparent knee injury. He was later spotted walking around normally in the dugout, so it sounds like he's probably okay.

Pitching Matchups

Monday: Jeff Samardzija, RHP (3.25, 79, 3.09, 3.44) vs Jose Quintana, LHP (3.48, 87, 4.16, 4.29), 6:10 PM CT

Shark followed up a strong 8 inning start against the Rockies with a seven inning outing against the Pirates, striking out eight while walking one and allowing three hits and one run. Obviously he didn't have The Will To Win since he got the loss in this game. He needs to take a page from Scott Feldman and drive in all of his own runs if he wants to get some Ws. He's been throwing significantly fewer capital-F fastballs this season, relying a bit more on his slider and cut fastball. His splitter remains his out pitch, it's by far his favorite to throw when he's ahead in the count.

Quintana had a solid rookie season with the Sox last year, posting a 3.76 ERA and 4.23 FIP in 22 starts. He's been even better this year after improving on his middling strikeout rate. BA didn't think much of Quintana as a prospect – the only time he appeared on a prospect list was as the Sox's #32 prospect after 2011. They damned him by assocation by associating him with former cub Donnie Veal, as they signed minor league deals around the same time. Scouts said that he had a middling 90mph fastball and telegraphed his breaking pitches. It looks like he must have figured that out, as his curveball has been his best pitch in the bigs, and he's added a decent cutter too. 

Tuesday: Edwin Jackson, RHP (6.11, 93, 3.67, 3.69) vs Chris Sale, LHP (2.53, 75, 3.31, 3.41), 6:10 PM CT

I keep hoping that regression is comign for Jackson, but he keeps giving up runs. His control seems to have improved at least – he hasn't walked more than two batters in a start since April 25 and has a 24:7 K:BB ratio since then. However, he gave up four homers and 36 hits in those five starts. His velocity remains down by a mph or two, and I'm still wondering if he's hurt or something.

Sale was scratched from his last start with shoulder tendinitis, but it sounds like he's probably okay. Sale was the poster child for people complaining about how the Nats used Strasburg last year, as they didn't take the gloves off with him despite his going 120+ innings over his previous year's total. The Sox couldn't make up their minds what to do with him last year, bullpen testing him briefly in May over elbow issues and concerns about his delivery before putting him back in the rotation. Sale has the dreaded "Inverted W" delivery, a name invented by a scout who sued Mars corporation because half his M&M's had W's instead of M's on them. 

Wednesday: John Danks, LHP (4.50, 94, 3.56, 4.19) vs Scott Feldman, RHP (2.80, 108, 4.01, 3.99), 1:20 PM CT

I saw Danks show up in the list of probable pitchers and was confused. Wasn't he done for the year? Turns out I mixed him up with Gavin Floyd. They're basically the same pitcher in my head. Or it could just be that I was remembering last year, since Danks missed most of the season. Danks has only made one start this year after coming back from last year's shoulder surgery. Danks will be the third lefty starter in a row that the Cubs face, so maybe that could help their RH hitters get in a groove.

Feldman looked like his was going to continue his "Feldmania" streak following his two-run homer in his last start against the Reds. However, he gave up two homers in the fourth inning and the Reds ran away with the rest of the game. 

Thursday: Jake Peavy, RHP (2.97, 80, 3.30, 3.76) vs Travis Wood, LHP (2.73, 95, 4.59, 4.31), 1:20 PM CT

Jim Hendry favorite Jake Peavy finally had his first full season with the White Sox in 2012, and he did not disappoint. He's pitching even better this year, striking out more than a batter per inning. He's coming off a complete game in which he allowed only one run with five strikeouts and two walks. Granted, it was against the Marlins.

It wouldn't last forever – Wood broke his streak of QS with a five-run outing against the Reds. Wood's been relying much more on a cut fastball this year, and has gotten solid results from the move. His sinker, however, is being hit hard by opposing batters. This is kind of surprising considering his BABIP is currently at .211.

 

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