The MLB is set up with the battle for Chicago on Saturday night, with loads of other action as well. Fifteen games are up on the board for July 6 as we get closer to the All-Star Break. The Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox will meet up for their last series of the season before the break. The first game on Saturday will throw the first pitch at around 7:15 PM Eastern time.
The Cubs have put up a record of 46-42 through this season, which has them sitting in second place of the NL Central. The NL Central is extremely competitive with less than five games separating the top spot from the last place in the division. Chicago has lost four of their last five games, with their win coming in their last game. The Cubs will look to create a winning streak with a win on Saturday night.
The White Sox are sitting in third place of the AL Central with a record of 41-43 this season. Chicago is a bit back from the top of the division, but could still make a push if they get it going in the second half of the season. The White Sox have put up a record of 4-2 through their home stand so far this season. Chicago will look to finish off strong with a win against their inner-city rivals on Saturday night.
These two teams have each had the day off going into Saturday night’s game. The Cubs and the White Sox will both look to use that day off to their advantage. These teams met up for a two-game series earlier in the season and split it. I expect this series to be a tight one as well as they look to earn the edge on the season series over their opponent.
The first two-game series between these teams was on June 18 and 19 in Wrigley Field. The Cubs started the first game off strong with a home run from Kyle Schwarber on the first pitch. Tim Anderson tied it up with a one-run single in the top of the sixth. Eloy Jimenez hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth to give the White Sox the 3-1 win in the first game.
The second game started with a Leury Garcia home run on the first pitch for the White Sox. Willson Contreras hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first to give the Cubs the lead early though. Contreras hit another home run in the bottom of the third to give the Cubs a healthy lead. Jon Lester got the win as he pitched seven innings allowing seven hits and three runs as the Cubs won 7-3.
These two teams split the first series that the Cubs hosted. The two teams started out quick in each of their losses but struggled to keep the offense consistent. Both teams will look to try and keep a healthy pace throughout the first game of this series as they each face a tough pitcher. Both teams were able to earn some home run balls, but I believe that each pitcher will try and crack down on that on Saturday night.
Javier Baez has been having a strong season so far this season. Baez has earned 100 hits, 22 home runs and 60 RBI’s. Kris Bryant has earned 91 hits, 17 home runs and an OPS of .947 this season. Anthony Rizzo has 83 hits, 19 home runs and 57 RBI’s. Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber each have 18 home runs this season. Jason Heyward has 76 hits and 14 home runs, but he could miss his third straight contest.
The White Sox have seen some good contribution from Leury Garcia who has 92 hits and a batting average of .301. Jose Abreu has 91 hits, 20 home runs and 63 RBI’s. Yoan Moncada has earned 91 hits, 16 home runs and an OPS of .894. James McCann has 71 hits, while Yolmer Sanchez has put up 60 hits. Eloy Jimenez has added 15 home runs this season.
The Cubs have the better hitting team this season, but the White Sox have a solid lineup of their own. I believe that both teams can continue to keep pace with each other throughout this series. If Heyward it out, it would sting for the Cubs, but I do not believe that it will play a huge role for the cubs. The White Sox have been missing short stop Tim Anderson, which has stung in their lineup as he will be out for a few weeks.
Jon Lester will start on the mound for the Cubs on Saturday night. Lester has put up a record of 7-6 through sixteen starts this season. He has put up an ERA of 3.89 and a WHIP of 1.307 through this season. Lester’s last game came against the Cincinnati Reds, where he allowed five hits and three earned runs through five and two-thirds innings pitched in route to a loss.
The White Sox will have Lucas Giolito pitch to start out Saturday’s matchup. Giolito has put up an impressive 11-2 record in his sixteen starts this season. He has an ERA of 2.72 and a WHIP of 1.021 this season. Giolito played the Minnesota Twins in his last start and allowed one hit and no runs through five innings to earn his eleventh win of the season.
Lester earned a win in his game against the White Sox this season, while Giolito took a loss against the Cubs. Giolito allowed seven hits and six runs in four and a third inning pitched against the Cubs. He will look to bounce back this time against the Cubs. Lester struggled in his last performance and will look to get the win this time around, repeating his success against the White Sox.
The Cubs and the White Sox played two competitive games in the first series of the season and I expect the same in this matchup. Both teams could be without a key hitter, which should even out. The Cubs have a slight edge when it comes to hitting, while the White Sox have had the better pitcher in Giolito this season, who will look to avenge his last performance against the Cubs.
BetOnline has the Cubs listed as a -106 against the money line in this one. This money line implies that the game could go either way, which seems like a solid line to me. I believe this game is pretty even, but with two solid pitchers out there, I like the value in the under. The over/under for this game is listed at 9.5, which is a good line in my opinion. I am taking the under for this game between the two inner-city rivals.