The Weakened Update-NL Central and White SoxLeave a Comment
Despite the fact that the Pirates (5) and Brewers (4) are each in the middle of winning streaks, the Cubs look pretty comfortable in their division. An 18-6 record among NL Central opponents will do that for a team. Taking two early series from the perennial favorite Cardinals while watching the Reds sputter through an 11 game losing streak doesn’t hurt either. Not willing to pull the plug on the Cincinnati Reds (15-33) or himself, 73 year-old broadcaster Marty Brennaman announced on Friday that he will be returning for the 2017 season…despite his doctor’s orders.
At 32-14 even a mediocre .500 June record (not happening) would have the #Cubs sitting pretty at the halfway point of the season. Factoring in “home” road games on both the South Side and Wrigley North, July has the Cubs keeping it local a total of 20 days during the month. A month that also features a four day All-Star break…aka -“working vacation” for many Cub players.
WHITE SOX LOOK LIKE PRETENDERS
Can the Chicago White Sox play with the big boys? So far, the answer seem to be a resounding no. Through 48 games, the Pale Hose are 9-1 versus Minnesota and Oakland and 18-20 against everyone else. After dropping five of seven to rival AL Central clubs, Chicago’s six-game lead on May 9 evaporated. Now that Kansas City and Cleveland have closed the gap, the Sox look like pretenders in a four-team division race. Losing three of four to the Indians made it a 4-11 run for Chicago since the club won the first game of a series against the Rangers and stood 23-10. Was the team playing over it’s head at that point? Absolutely, even though some thought the club was for real.
Since May 12, Mat Latos has a 6.35 ERA, Jose Quintana is 0-3, and Miguel Gonzales (0-1, 4.22 ERA) is pitching pretty much like a starter who was released by the Orioles. Even Chris Sale lost a game. But the rotation is never really the problem here. Over a period of about three weeks, Chicago saw production from its middle infield crumble, which you had to expect with Jimmy Rollins and Brett Lawrie holding things down. Lawrie, who had a few promising weeks early in the season, is back to being himself. He hit .156 with 17 strikeouts in his past 12 games (45 AB). Rollins (.192, 10 strikeouts in 33 AB) is right behind him. Elsewhere, Austin Jackson (.244, 0 HR in 176 PA) left Chicago back with its perennial hole in the outfield.
If we told you about the 2 HR Dioner Navarro and Alex Avila have managed in their 51 combined games, we’d be piling on, so we’ll skip it. This team just does not score enough runs to stay competitive, and trade rumors are already swirling…
The White Sox suffered a brutal 7-5 loss to the Royals Friday night after blowing a 5-1 sixth-inning lead.
To read more of The Cheat Sheet article by Eric Shaal click here:
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