Results tagged ‘ Crosstown Cup ’

Now Playing: Crosstown Cup, A House Divided

Ernie Banks or Luis Aparicio? Sammy Sosa or Frank Thomas? Anthony Rizzo or Paul Konerko? When it comes to Chicago baseball, loyalties run deep. Every year, Chicagoans are divided by their ties to the Cubs or the White Sox, as they fight for bragging rights and a claim to the Crosstown Cup. And allegiance isn’t always a matter of geography. Vine Line was out at Wrigley Field Wednesday for Game 3 of the Cubs-Sox home-and-home series to talk to friends and families who are divided by their split baseball loyalties.

Series 18 Preview: Cubs vs. White Sox

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The Cubs jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the White Sox Tuesday, before the game was postponed due to rain. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

A home-and-home series—in baseball? Welcome to the crazy scheduling world of year-round Interleague Play. Though the South Siders have surprised analysts with their ability to outperform forecasts, they didn’t make any major additions to a roster that lost a late-season lead to the Tigers in the AL Central last year. While the Indians and Royals made big moves to catch Detroit, newly minted Sox GM Rick Hahn had to settle for signing super-utilityman Jeff Keppinger and set-up reliever Matt Lindstrom. Losing longtime catcher A.J. Pierzynski to free agency amplifies concerns about the aging lineup’s ability to score runs, and power lefty John Danks missed the opening weeks of the season as he continued to recover from left shoulder surgery. The Sox may again upset expectations and finish above .500—they’re currently one game below—but they haven’t won 90 games since 2006. The last time the Cubs won 90 was in 2008.

HITTING: 3.6 RS/G, 26th in MLB
Losing Pierzynski was a surprise, but so were his 27 home runs last year. The Sox couldn’t have expected that to happen again. Instead, this lineup will rely on its power trio of Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios. It remains to be seen if Dayan Viciedo will make it a core four. If the team hopes to contend, Dunn will need to continue his rebound from 2011, arguably the worst year ever for a designated hitter (.569 OPS). So far, he’s off to a typically Dunn-like start. His power numbers are strong (12 home runs, 27 RBI), but he’s hitting just .156 with 66 strikeouts. The Sox also need leadoff man Alejandro De Aza to repeat his breakthrough performance from 2012. The good news is Rios got off to a hot start, leading the team in almost every statistical category. Still, the Sox will be better off if some of his teammates start challenging his numbers sometime soon.

PITCHING: 4.0 RA/G, 9th in MLB
Much of how well the 2013 season works out on the South Side rests on the Sox’s frontline pair of power lefties. Chris Sale is off to a good start (especially with Welington Castillo’s two-run blast from Tuesday wiped off the stat sheet) and hopes to follow up on his near Cy Young-worthy 2012 campaign, while today’s starter Danks is trying to bounce back from shoulder surgery. Thursday’s starter Jake Peavy has lived up to the veteran ace label in his first starts of 2013, posting a 6-2 record with a 2.97 ERA, but Gavin Floyd has already been lost for the year with an elbow injury. The good news for the Sox is the bullpen looks like a source of strength. Closer Addison Reed seems to have overcome last year’s wildness, and Jesse Crain is off to a fast start.

Cubs venture to the South Side

The Cubs take a trip down the Dan Ryan Expressway this week en route to U.S. Cellular Field for the second leg of the BP Crosstown Cup. To add some fuel to Chicago rivalry, we’re breaking down the position-by-position matchups for both teams, starting today with starters and bullpens.

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Starting Pitching

Monday
Matt Garza (2-5, 4.04 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 8.3 K/9) vs. Zach Stewart (1-1, 5.18 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 5.55 K/9)

The Cubs will have an opportunity to jump out to an early lead in the series with the Sox’s Zach Stewart making his first start of the season. Last year, Stewart completed seven innings just once in eight starts after being acquired from the Blue Jays in a July trade.

But this may not be a sure thing. For a starter many believed was the Cubs’ ace going into Opening Day, Matt Garza has struggled a bit, especially of late. In his first six outings, Garza had a 2.59 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and was striking out 9.19 batters per nine innings. In his last six outings, those numbers have worsened dramatically (5.87 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 7.55 K/9). With Adam Dunn and Alex Rios bouncing back, Paul Konerko likely having the best season of his career and many others hitting better than expected, Garza will have to pitch well to outlast the tough White Sox lineup.

Tuesday
Travis Wood (0-3, 4.58 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 6.1 K/9) vs. Jake Peavy (6-2, 2.91 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 7.83 K/9)

Travis Wood has been a consistent and solid addition to the Cubs’ rotation since joining the major league club in early May. The southpaw has completed five innings in all six of his starts and has gotten through the sixth in three of them. He’s only had one bad outing (5 IP, 6 ER, 7 H vs. the Padres, a game the Cubs still won) and has surrendered no more than three earned runs in five of six starts.

The Sox have been successful this season in part due to Jake Peavy’s return to dominance. After starting just 35 games over the last two seasons for the South Siders, Peavy entered camp healthy this year, and his numbers show he is back to his old, dominant form. One number that might be helping his cause is a .239 batting average on balls in play. Given the league average hovers somewhere around .300 and the Sox have a good-but-not-great defense, there might be some luck involved to his fast start.

Wednesday
Ryan Dempster (3-3, 2.11 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 7.3 K/9) vs. Gavin Floyd (4-7, 5.63 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 8.5 K/9)

Gavin Floyd has struggled of late to say the least. In his last six starts, he is 1-4 with a 10.71 ERA and a 2.01 WHIP. However, Floyd is still managing to strike out just better than one batter per inning.

Ryan Dempster, meanwhile, has been one of the National League’s most consistently dominant starters all season. Because of poor run support, the 35-year-old won his first start just three outings ago. Prior to his first win on June 5, the Cubs were averaging 2.89 runs per game in Dempster’s starts. But he has won each of his last three because the bats have finally livened up behind him.

Bullpen
While neither bullpen has been automatic this year, the Sox’s ‘pen has fared significantly better than that of the Cubs. Closer Addison Reed has converted eight of nine chances this season, while Matt Thornton (3.38 ERA) and Jesse Crain (2.18 ERA, 10.9 K/9) have been solid setup men.

The Cubs have a 4.51 bullpen ERA, second-worst in baseball, and have saved just nine games total, the lowest total in baseball. James Russell (2.56 ERA) and Shawn Camp (3.74 ERA) have both been good middle/late-innings relievers, but the closer spot is still a revolving door. It appears Carlos Marmol has regained that job after returning from a recent demotion.

Tomorrow on the blog, we’ll feature the infielders.

ONE TOWN

Sunday’s game against the White Sox almost had all the drama of a Hollywood script. There were men in black and men in white. A duel ensued under sheet of misty rain. And a champion paraded into town to uplift the masses….

Baseball fans were treated to near history with a double no-hitter taken into the seventh. White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd lost his bid in the seventh, while Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly extended his no-hitter through the eighth. Juan Pierre broke it up in the ninth with a single.

In the end the Cubs won the game, but the city of Chicago was the real winner. To be sure, it has been a rough first half for both sides of town. On national television, the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks triumphantly paraded around “The Friendly Confines.” Indeed, the Blackhawks gave Cubs and White Sox fans something to cheer about, as they all collectively drank the goodness from Lord Stanley’s cup.  

Again, don’t forget to fill out that Vine Line survey and make yourself eligible to win a Cubs duffle bag full of gear! Click here!

 

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The Stanley Cup gets the grand tour of “The Friendly Confines.”

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Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol revel in the Cup’s presence. Who’s No. 1?

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Hoisting the Cup, Dempster hopes to be hoisting another type of trophy someday.

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Forward John Madden shares the Cup with ecstatic Cubs and Sox fans.

And amid all that, a pitching duel broke out as Ted Lilly (left) and Gavin Floyd had no-hitters going through the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Lilly earned the win with a one-hitter.

–Mike Huang

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Let the crosstown battle begin–and keep track of it!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgLost amid all the Hawks hoopla is the fact that there are baseball games going on at Wrigley Field.

It’s brother vs brother, fan vs fan, cats vs dogs….It’s Cubs vs White Sox this weekend!

And for that, we’ve put together a commemorative scorecard with and a special FREE poster on the inside. Also inside is a special informational section for history of the Cubs/Sox rivalry. Check it out below.

Again, don’t forget to fill out that Vine Line survey and make yourself eligible to win a Cubs duffle bag full of gear! Click here!

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GET A FREE POSTER!

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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CUBS/SOX SERIES!

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Fill up the Cup! Sponsored by BP

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgOn Monday morning, executives from both Chicago baseball teams unveiled the annual Crosstown Cup, sponsored by BP, at the Cloud Gate of Millennium Park. It was the perfect neutral site for such a partisan event.

From the North Side, on hand were Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, manager Lou Piniella, Cubs President Crane Kenney, Chief Marketing Officer Wally Hayward and Cubs players Marlon Byrd and Randy Wells.

From South Side, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Brooks Boyer, White Sox players Gordon Beckham and AJ Pierzynski were on hand. WGN on-air personality Dave Kaplan emceed the event.

BP logo small.JPG“It gives [the city of Chicago] two weekends where everyone is just focused on baseball,” Ricketts said.

The previous Crosstown Classic now will be known as the BP Crosstown Cup. Under these new rules, the team with the most wins in the yearly series will be formally awarded the rivalry’s namesake trophy. If the annual series is split 3-3, the BP Crosstown Cup will be awarded to the winner of the series’ last game.

“I’ve been here three years, so I know what this series means to the city of Chicago that has such great sports fans,” Piniella said. “Obviously my focus is winning games on the field, but it’s going to be hard not to think about winning that cup for the first time.”

Here’s a trio of photos from yesterday:

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Lou Piniella in front of the “Bean”

Tom Ricketts Cup presser.JPG Tom Ricketts and Randy Wells mug for staff photographer Steve Green.

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Marlon, we know it’s a bit brisk, but a parka? You better get used to Chicago springs! 

  –Mike Huang

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