The Chicago Cubs are just one win away from clinching the crosstown battle versus the Chicago White Sox. The Cubs’ Saturday night’s 6-3 win was a microcosm of two teams going in opposite directions. The future is predictably bright for the Cubs, but things are uncertain for the White Sox. The 2015 slate of crosstown games is clearly about a tale of two teams.
The Cubs will have stretched their winning streak to 10 straight games with a win over their inner-city rivals. Each victory has come in impressive fashion. Strong pitching, timely hitting, great managerial decisions, mixed with a little bit of ignorance have all played a role in a successful season for this young team. There are four rookies receiving a large amount of playing time on the Cubs — a fact that most people would not realize, given that they have they currently have the fourth-best record in baseball.
The Cubs are playing with so much confidence right now that they are making observers believers. Just to think that in January, the Sporting News picked the Chicago Cubs to win this year’s World Series. It was a preposterous notion at the time, but look at their growth. It is hard not to take the Cubs seriously these days.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 14, 2015
Someone may have to pass the message on to the Chicago White Sox.
On the other side of Chicago, the White Sox have been foiled by shoddy defense, a lagging offense, some curious decision-making, and just some plain old boneheaded mistakes.
One curious moment came during the game on Friday.
With White Sox infielder Tyler Saladino at the plate and Cubs pitcher Pedro Strop on the mound, Alexei Ramirez attempted to get into Strop’s head with a few hand gestures. While Ramirez’s intentions may seem playful, trying to get into mind games backfired. The hand gestures may have fired up Strop and the rest of the Cubs as they went on to win 6-5.
The crosstown rivalry is supposed to be about fun for the fans as well between both teams, but in the middle of August with a playoff berth in the balance, it is time to win. The fun comes from winning. Since the non-waiver trade deadline, the White Sox are just 5-8, the Cubs are a league-best 12-1.
There are a few rumblings that the Cubs may seek out one more piece to their playoff puzzle. A veteran player is currently being sought after.
Both the Cubs and White Sox were a few games back for the final wildcard spot prior to the July 31 deadline. Currently, the Cubs are in front by 4.5 games, while the White Sox are five games back with a handful of teams ahead of them.
Many people have suggested that the Cubs are a year ahead of schedule. The maturity exhibited by Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and others suggest that they will only get better from here. It took a rash decision to tear down the team and start completely over. The Chicago Cubs are looking at the sustained success of the St. Louis Cardinals and LA Angels as models. By rebuilding their farm system, implementing players who fit a certain philosophy, the Cubs are well on their way. All they need is young pitching.
There are some similarities with the team on the other side of town.
The Chicago White Sox are built with sustained success in mind, but that only comes from how they have put together a solid pitching unit. While creating success, they place a premium on free agency to fill the holes. It has not worked thus far. To find the differences between the Cubs and White Sox, look no further than each lineup. Many of the Cubs players spent time in their farm system — they are essentially homegrown talent.
That cannot be said for the White Sox, who will never do what the Cubs have done, tearing down everything and starting from scratch. It is time to consider it, though. This weekend’s crosstown battle is proof that these two teams are far apart from each other. You can tell from how they manage themselves with a few hand gestures. One team, the Cubs, are playing winning baseball. The White Sox are not.
The tale of two teams start from how they were constructed, and we are seeing the final results.
[Photo by Jon Durr / Getty Images Sport]