By Doug Halberstadt
We’re not even to the All-Star break yet, and it’s clearly a tale of two cities in Chicago. On the south side of town, things are going pretty decently. On the north side of town, things couldn’t get much worse.
If you’re a Sox fan, you’re probably at the very least smiling. If you still publicly claim to be a Cubs fan, you’re in an all-too-familiar position.
Let’s first take a look at the good. The Chicago White Sox are in first place in the American League Central Division. At press time, they have 35 wins and 30 losses. That’s good enough for a two-game lead over the Cleveland Indians.
Much of their early season success can be attributed to the bats of two of their key players. First baseman Paul Konerko is leading the American League with a .359 batting average. His teammate, Adam Dunn, leads all of the majors with 23 home runs, and he’s third in the American League in with 52 runs batted in.
They also have quality starting pitchers. Phillip Humber has tossed a perfect game this season. Chris Sale is second in the league with a 2.46 earned run average. He’s also racked up eight wins so far this season.
Now for the bad … the Chicago Cubs have the worst record in all of Major League Baseball. They have almost twice as many losses as they have wins. They are 22-43. There are a multitude of reasons for their miserable start to 2012.
They haven’t hit, pitched or fielded well. First baseman Bryan LaHair leads the team with a .297 batting average. The next closest guy is Starlin Castro at .291. The team batting average is a paltry .246.
Their best pitcher is Ryan Dempster with a 3-3 record and a 2.11 ERA. They are last in the league with a team 4.33 ERA.
When you combine the impotent hitting with the lackluster pitching, it’s easy to see why the Cubs are the doormats of Major League Baseball. They might want to take a look at what their cross-town rivals are doing.
The Sox have managed to put together a group that hits for average and power, and their starting rotation isn’t giving up more than 4 runs per game. It’s a pretty simple recipe for success in the major leagues, score more runs than you give up.
Frankly, I don’t see anything changing for the Cubs. They will continue to be bad unless some drastic changes are made. Don’t bank on it; it’s not happening anytime soon.
As far as the Sox go, they have most of the pieces in place to win their division. Barring some sort of team meltdown or any type of long-term injuries to Dunn and/or Konerko during the upcoming second half of the season, they stand a good chance of making the playoffs. That you can take to the bank.
It’s sad to say the Cubs are already done for the season when we’re not even at the halfway point yet, but I’m saying it, they’re done! There you have it, my take on the two Chicago baseball teams as we are approaching the mid-season break.
Fortunately for baseball fans in this area, we have multiple options. I’ll be cheering for the Sox for the remainder of this season.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the June 20-26, 2012, issue