That was a wonderful day off! It was also kind of weird, because I had grown accustomed to being able to follow or watch a Cubs game at some point during the day. I’m certain the players, coaches, and staff wished the off time lasted longer, but alas it can’t last forever. Before the off day, the Cubs took two of three from the Diamondbacks to maintain their lead in the NL Central, which stands at 2.5 Their magic number to clinch the division stands at eight as they head to the south side to face the White Sox for three games this weekend.
The Sox have not had a great year, sporting a 59-92 record that is the fourth worst in all of baseball. They have been rebuilding their team, so the poor record should not come as a surprise to anybody. That being said, the Sox do have some young talent that has been able to get some good experience at the major league level this year, and will probably be better next year.
The White Sox offense has been rather mediocre this year. They rank 25th in fWAR and have slashed .242/.303/.406 on the year. Their offensive leaders are Omar Narvaez (2.1 fWAR), Tim Anderson (2.1 fWAR), Yolmer Sanchez (1.8 fWAR), and Yoan Moncada (1.7 fWAR). None of these players are older than age 26, so the future is bright for them. I can definitely see the White Sox offense improving immensely next year.
As with offense, the White Sox pitching staff has been poor this year. They are 26th in fWAR, and have the sixth worst ERA (4.72) in the league. Their top fWAR pitcher is Reynaldo Lopez, who the Cubs face on Friday. He has been decent, posting a 4.05 ERA while striking out 18.5 percent of batters. Their best reliever is Joakim Soria, who, after a few average years in Kansas City, has looked much better with the Good Guys. In 40 appearances (38.2 IP) he has a 2.56 ERA while striking out 29.9 percent and walking a mere 6.6 percent of batters he has faced.
The Cubs should win at least two of the games this series. Their toughest challenge on offense will be on Friday, when they face the aforementioned Lopez.
Game and Broadcast Info
- Friday, September 21 at 3:10 CT on WGN and MLB Network
- Saturday, September 22 at 6:10 CT on WGN and MLB Network
- Sunday, September 23 at 1:10 CT on Comcast Sports Chicago and MLB Network
What to Watch For
- Kyle Schwarber is back in the lineup after taking time to rest his stiff back. Watch for how much playing time he gets. If he is in there every game, then I think it would be safe to conclude he’s fully recovered from his injury.
- Kyle Hendricks has been phenomenal in September, posting a 1.82 ERA in 24.2 innings of work. He also almost pitched a complete game in his previous outing against the Diamondbacks. Look for him to continue his great play.