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June 20, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Scott Maine (57) delivers a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the sixth inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Cubs Lose Battle But Win War vs White Sox

 

Inter league play is widely regarded as a gigantic waste of time that no one enjoys by many fans and experts alike.

I tend to agree with them on that front, but its always nice to watch the Cubs win a series against the White Sox. Its a clash that rivals some of the greatest in sports and frankly, is good for the Chicago sports culture as a whole.

While the Cubs found their stride early in the first two game of the three game series (setting season HR, H and R tallies in the first match up), the Cubs lost the pep in their step in the third game.

The bats were lack luster. The pitching? Mediocre at best. It was a sobering reminder that despite a glorious display of baseball by the North Sider’s in the first two games of the series, the Cubs still kind of suck.

Its not entirely their fault. The White Sox are an extremely sharp ball club who crack the top 10 MLB Power Rankings almost weekly. It was a real treat to watch the Cubs crush the south side rivals – especially with a lineup that lacks any real star power.

David and Goliath would have probably watched this series. It was that cool.

However, in game 3 of the series, there were problems. Randy Wells got the nod on the mound with nothing but opportunity staring at him in the face. With a stellar performance, he could have easily cracked a spot in the starting rotation and made a real name for himself.

He came with his usual mix of pitches and was relatively solid through 2 innings – however sadly for Randy, baseball games are 9 innings long. The wheels fell off in the third and he was finally pulled off the mound in the fourth after giving up 5 H, 3R (all earned) and walking 4. All that without a single strikeout as well.

A three run lead is not insurmountable, but when your team cannot seem to deliver on clutch hitting, you’re likely to lose a lot of baseball games. Starlin Castro may have been the only bright spot on the day hitting a leadoff triple, but poor hitting was unable to drive him in as the Sox retired the next three batters. Sometimes you just don’t have it. The baseball Gods have spoken.

Consider that no Cub was able to amount more than 1 hit the entire game, and its quite obvious why this game was lost. Recent AAA call up Scott Maine got a little bit of action on the mound after Well’s removal and he was OK at best giving up 2 hits (including a HR) and 3 earned. In a game where everyone and their uncle was called out of the bullpen to work, It’s really not the end of the world to see the AAA guys making mistakes. Its bound to happen.

Manuel Corpas continues to be solid as he came in for some work in the 9th. He let his defense help him through as he K’d one while looking relatively steady on the mound. As much as I see potential in him, I can’t see him being a long term piece of the puzzle for the Cubs rebuild. Regardless, he’s a welcome addition in the mean time.

The Cubs put the pieces together for 2 solid games, but fell short in the final game failing to complete the sweep. In a season that is now measured by opportunity and not W-L, it’s good to see lots of action in the bullpen. Exposure and mistakes are what leads to improvement, and Dale Sveum seems to understand that. If the Cubs continue to find small portions of success through experimentation (and they will) we can look forward to seeing a “fresh” team hitting the diamond very soon.

While on the subject of “fresh teams”, we’re days away from the Anthony Rizzo call up. While he wont be the saving grace that Cubs fans are making him out to be, he is clearly done with AAA baseball in Iowa after making countless pitchers look absolutely stupid. He’s a sharp bat that will help bolster the hitting lineup. Bryan LaHair has made the switch to RF in order to make room for Rizzo, and more room is to be expected as the Alfonso Soriano trade rumors heat up (despite his relatively unimpressive showing at DH yesterday. It shouldn’t hurt his relatively low trade value as it is)

The Cubs look for more success on June 22 vs the Arizona DiamondBacks.

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