Entering the season, both the south and north sides of Chicago had reasons to be excited.
The White Sox spent a lot of money on free agent arms in starter Jeff Samardzija, closer David Robertson and setup man Zach Duke. They also bolstered the lineup with the bats of Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche. They even drafted a major-league ready arm in N.C. State’s Carlos Rodon.
The Cubs also spent big, reuniting Jon Lester and G.M. Theo Epstein to give them a World Series-tested ace. They added Miguel Montero behind the plate, and brought back free agent starter Jason Hammel after having packaged him with Samardzija in a deal with Oakland at the deadline last season. That deal netted, among others, the rookie who now starts at second base for Cubs, Addison Russell.
Some experts thought the White Sox could contend for the playoffs with Chris Sale and Samardzija at the top of the rotation and Robertson closing out games while Jose Abreu and LaRoche pounded balls over the fence, and Avisail Garcia and Adam Eaton realized their full potential in the outfield.
But it hasn’t quite worked out that way on the South Side. The White Sox are at the bottom of the A.L. Central with a record of 30-38, and are weighing the pros and cons of being sellers at the trade deadline.
It hasn’t quite worked out the way people thought it would on the North Side either: They are beating expectations.
Some experts liked the signing of Lester as evidence that the Cubs weren’t just going to wait around for the league’s best farm system to mature into major leaguers. And that farm system was—and still is—stacked even though several of those prospects, including Russell and third baseman Kris Bryant, have graduated to the majors. Catcher Kyle Schwarber has people salivating after his brief call-up for interleague play and there’s a good chance he’s a part of the puzzle if the Cubs are in contention in September.
The Cubs are 37-30 but have the misfortune of playing in the N.L. Central. They find themselves 7 games behind the Cardinals. The Wild Card, however, seems a very real possibility. And it’s not like the White Sox are out of that race either. The South Side is just 6.5 games back, which must make the decision to buy or sell at the deadline much tougher.
Whether you’re South or North Side till you die, the White Sox or Cubs are in every one of our games this week—and each game will get us a little closer to knowing where both teams really stand as the trade deadline approaches.
Here’s the schedule with projected starters as of Monday.
Monday, June 22
Chicago White Sox at Minnesota, 8pm ET (ESPN2)
John Danks vs Tommy Milone
Wednesday, June 24
Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs, 8pm ET (ESPN2)
Mike Bolsinger vs Kyle Hendricks
Sunday, June 28 Chicago Cubs at St. Louis, 8pm ET (ESPN)
Jason Hammel vs Carlos Martinez