MLB is trying something new this year with top interleague matchups. Rather than having two weekend series, one in each team’s park, as they have in the past, they will be staging a four-day baseball extravaganza in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, the DC/Baltimore area, the San Francisco Bay, Missouri, Ohio and Florida starting next Monday. Why anyone thinks that four weekday games will draw more than six weekend games clearly knows something that I don’t. We’ll just have to see how it all goes down next week.
There is one consideration that nobody else has noticed to this point. It’s not that the White Sox lead the all-time Chicago showdown series 49-41. (Personally, because the Cubs have one punch thrown at A.J. Pierzynski, I think that should be worth 10 extra games, at least.) It’s how each team has performed on weekday games.
After losing to the Pirates in Matt Garza’s return on Tuesday night, the Cubs are 12-11 on the season in games played on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The White Sox, on the other hand, are 15-10 on the season on games played on those four days, after beating the Red Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. For these two sub-.500 teams, playing on the weekdays is clearly the best thing.
A weekend series — or even two of them, with one on each side of Chicago — would not be a pretty thing to behold. The White Sox are 6-13 in games played on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The Sox won their first Saturday game back in April, but have lost the last six straight. And the Cubs are even worse at 6-15 in weekend games and 1-6 on Sundays. Someone would have to win these games, of course, but weekend baseball hasn’t been good in Chicago so far this season.
One of the two Chicago teams has to play to form and win three out of the four games next week, while the other has to come back to earth and lose more than they win. Nobody wants to see a split, after all. For my part, I say Go Cubs!