Slump continues for both Chicago teams

By Cat Garcia

The Cubs have lost eight of their last 12 games going back to their series with the San Diego Padres, a series that began the random skid the Northsiders are currently on.

Yet, it’s still no time to panic. Barely a quarter of the way through the season, the Cubs still hold a 5 game lead in the NL Central, and an major league leading .674 winning percentage.

In an in-game interview with Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta during Sunday evening’s contest with the Giants, Arrieta indicated to the broadcast crew that this team was off to a hot start and did not intend to stop anytime soon – indicating that he’s not quite worried about the losing stretch the Cubs are currently enduring.

The truth is, it’s not really much to worry about. It’s just the natural ebb and flow of a long baseball season. It’s just a bit tougher to swallow when a team is coming off an April as strong as the Cubs did.

The Cubs hit the road last week to take on a three-game set with the Milwaukee Brewers, losing two but winning an epic 13 inning contest on Tuesday night when Milwaukee pitcher Carlos Torres surrendered a bases loaded walk to batter Travis Wood. Heading out west to take on the San Francisco Giants, the Cubs dropped two games of the three-game set and suffered a scary moment on Friday night when rightfielder Jason Heyward collided head first with an outfield wall making a diving catch in the famous “Triples Alley” at AT&T Park. Heyward’s MRI showed no serious injury, but simply a mild contusion in his rib/hip area. He is expected to be back in the lineup in a few days.

After an unexpected 4-3 ninth-inning loss to the Cardinals on Monday night in a game where the Cubs outplayed the Cardinals in multiple ways, the Cubs will continue their series with the St. Louis before heading home to take on the Phillies and Dodgers for Memorial Day weekend at Wrigley Field.

The Southsiders have echoed similar fate as their north side neighbors this week, hitting a skid in which they’ve surrendered two games and won just one in their last three series going back to the Rangers series – ironically the same time the Cubs began their skid.

In the start of the nine-game homestand this past week, the White Sox surrendered two of three games to the Houston Astros, who won the first game of the set after White Sox reliever Matt Albers surrendered the lead via a two-run home run to Evan Gattis in extra innings. Mat Latos started game two for the White Sox on Wednesday, allowing two home runs with 11 hits and five earned runs in the loss. The final game of the series saw Chris Sale on the mound facing Astro’s starter Collin McHugh, and it certainly was the highlight of the series. Sale threw his third complete game of the season to help the White Sox defeat the Astros 2-1. Sale struck out nine and allowed the lone run to score via home run, again, off the bat of Evan Gattis.

The White Sox then took on the division rival Kansas City Royals this weekend, again giving up two of three games. Despite another strong start from Jose Quintana, he was simply out pitched on Friday night, facing Dillon Gee, who only allowed one earned run on the evening. Quintana allowed eight hits with four earned runs and five strikeouts.

White Sox new-comer Miguel Gonzalez took the mound on Saturday night and had a brilliant start in which he struck out eight and gave up just two earned runs. Unfortunately, the White Sox bats were silenced by Royals starter Danny Duffy, who allowed four hits and no earned runs on the evening. Final score was 2-1, Kansas City.

The White Sox took the last game of the series, helping Carlos Rodon secure his second win of the season on the back of a strong start and an even stronger finish by the White Sox bullpen who continue to be an excellent contribution to this team. Rodon pitched 6.2 innings Sunday afternoon, allowing just two earned runs with four strikeouts. The White Sox won 3-2.

After a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians on Monday in which the White Sox won their first game and dropped the second, the Southsiders will wrap up their series against the Indians, who are on their tail attempting to take over first place in the AL Central. The White Sox currently hold a 2.5 game lead on the Indians. After this series, the White Sox will go back out on the road for a lengthy nine-game road trip that sends them to Oakland, Philadelphia, and Seattle.

Cat is a Staff Writer for BP Wrigleyville and BP Southside, Baseball Prospectus’ blogs covering Chicago baseball, and a Contributor for Follow her on Twitter: @TheBaseballGirl.

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