Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox open three-game set at Wrigley

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs welcome the Chicago White Sox to Wrigley Field this weekend. Despite standings, these series never fail to be competitive.

After sweeping the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs will prepare to take on their South Side rivals, the Chicago White Sox. This is the first of two three-game sets against the Sox this season. First at Wrigley Field this weekend and then on the South Side in September.

The Cubs are going to take on a rebuilding and banged up White Sox team that is 9-25 this season. Most of the White Sox future is still being groomed in the minors, hence why their current record is so poor.

However, it is always worth noting that the South Siders typically play the Cubs well year-in and year-out. The Crosstown Series has been close going back to 2015, with the Cubs holding an 8-6 edge.

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It may not have the same intensity that it had a decade ago, but the Crosstown Series can still be fun. It really is not much of a “team rivalry” since they play in two different leagues, but mainly a rivalry for the fans. Regardless of all the hype, the Cubs just want to go and take care of business.

Pitching matchups

Pitching matchups are all but set. Worth noting that Jose Quintana will not face his former team this weekend since he started Wednesday. Here are the head-to-head matchups:

Friday: Tyler Chatwood (3.31 ERA, 1.53 WHIP) vs. Carson Fulmer (5.02 ERA, 1.61 WHIP)

Saturday: Jon Lester (2.82 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) vs. James Shields (5.14 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

Sunday: Kyle Hendricks (3.02 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) vs. Lucas Giolito (7.25 ERA, 1.67 WHIP)

Cubs batters have not faced these Sox pitchers much. James Shields has five career starts against the Cubs, sporting a 3.19 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in those games. Lucas Giolito has only faced the Cubs in spring training and Carson Fulmer’s only regular season appearance against the Cubs was a third of an inning in relief in 2016.

Pitching-wise, Kyle Hendricks has a 3.98 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in four starts against the Sox. Jon Lester has a 4.30 ERA in 98 1/3 innings pitched against them, a good chunk of that coming from his Boston days. Tyler Chatwood has started against the Sox twice and has a 1.35 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 13 1/3 innings.

Lineups and absences

Jason Heyward is the one position player the Cubs will enter this series missing due to concussion. Javier Baez has had the groin issues, but still has been playing. Everyone else should be good to go.

The Sox will be without future star Yoan Moncada and outfielder Avisail Garcia, both of whom are battling hamstring issues. Left fielder Nicky Delmonico is questionable for Friday after leaving Wednesday’s game with a quad injury.

The biggest bats to get out in this Sox lineup are Jose Abreu, Wellington Castillo, Tim Anderson and Matt Davidson. Cubs are very familiar with what Abreu and Castillo (a former Cub) can do. Meanwhile Davidson has nine home runs and is slashing .252/.372/.551 in 31 games. Young Tim Anderson has had ups and downs, but has seven home runs in 34 games.

Overall for the Cubs, they want to take advantage of a rebuilding team. Especially the hitters facing a pitching staff that has a collective 5.25 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. The Sox bullpen has a 4.81 ERA and 1.59 WHIP alone, so that has to be taken advantage of late in a close game. Cubs are lucky to be avoiding their best pitcher, Reynaldo Lopez this series.

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There is an argument that the Cubs cannot take the Sox for granted. Despite losing some rough games, they have shown some competitiveness despite being 9-25. The young Sox will give the Cubs everything they got, Cubs just have to play like they did against the Marlins.