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In the grand scheme of things, Monday’s game between the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox didn’t really need to be played. The two-and-two format that began on Memorial Day seemed like a less-than-satisfying alternative to the two weekend series that had been held every year since 1999. That’s the last century, dag nab it, and going from six weekend games down to four weekday games, all in a row, somehow didn’t seem right.
But then a couple of things happened. One of the games at The Cell was rained out, which did add some distance between the games in May and last night’s makeup date. And, more importantly, the Chicago Cubs crushed the White Sox in the three games that were actually played back then. The White Sox had just reached .500 coming into the crosstown series, but they haven’t been anywhere near it since.
Even if the White Sox had won last night’s game, the Chicago Cubs would still own the city’s bragging rights, for the first time since 2007 and only the fourth time in the 17 years since interleague play began. Win or lose, the game had no playoff implications for either team, since both teams are on pace for losing seasons overall.
With all that said, this was the last time for both teams to mix it up with their crosstown rivals. If the schedule drops us all down from six games to four , it would be silly to settle for less than that. Even though the rains were present from the start, and there was no continuity that a series of games offers, it was still a chance for the teams to sweep and be swept, or for the White Sox to take the Cubs’ broomsticks and snap them in two. With the All-Star game coming up next week, why not tie up this loose end and be done with it?
The broomsticks are now out in full force, after the Chicago Cubs coasted to an 8-2 victory and a season sweep of the crosstown series. The game was tied until the eighth inning, when the Cubs put up five runs before adding one more in the ninth. It marked the first season sweep in the series since the Cubs swept all three games back in 1998. The White Sox still hold a 49-44 edge in the series overall, but winning all four games is the best that the Cubs could have done this year.
The only numbers that really matter are wins and losses, but the underlying numbers also are heavily in the Chicago Cubs’ favor. The Cubs outscored the White Sox 32-8 over the four games, and they outhit the White Sox 44-24. The Cubs scored at least seven runs in every game in the series, which is no small thing for a team that averages less than four runs a game when the White Sox aren’t the opponent.
Does it seem like I’m piling on? Yes, I’m sure that’s what it feels like from a White Sox fan’s perspective. But at the same time, I would expect nothing less than the same thing from them, if the shoe was on the other foot. And who knows what’s going to happen in 2014? But for this year — a frustrating season filled with one Chicago Cubs bullpen disaster after another — there’s no doubt about which team was better in head-to-head match-ups.
As we always say, Sox fans, just wait ’til next year.