Last these two teams were together, the Cubs swept the Sox in three games. That was last weekend. That was in Wrigley Field 10 miles to the North and that was, well, ancient history.
Also there was
But that was then and this is now when we find ourselves in Bridgeport. (Not really, we're at our desk, as usual.)
But the following exchange took place between two characters we know all too well and are completely sick of:
Ain't no stinkin' rainbows over by Armour Square. Hear that, Cubbie Boy? Damn, that's my buddy Timmy calling. Don't move. Hey, Timmy, you there? Yeah. You comin' in from Orland? Do me a favor and stop off at the Jewels to get something to eat for the tailgate. Huh? Well, go to my auntie's house and get her preferred savings card. Anything. If they got raw meat on sale, that'd be good. Yeah, whatever, I gotta run because I got some Scrubs fan in a headlock. Later, T. Go Sox. Cubbie Boy, you still breathing? We're back in our yard now and we got Contreras going today and he's looking for some revenge from last week. As St. Antony is my witness, you can take that rainbow and your rusty 1908 World Series trophy and stick it where the sun don't shine!
Yeah, well, ... we've got better attendance! [Runs away.]
Now that that's out of the way, there is a baseball to be played.
Clearly the Cubs are being careful with Kosuke Fukudome's calf. So much so that Daryle Ward is in right field today! Yikes. While Fukudome assumes the rare leadoff/DH role.
Nothing that strange in the Sox's lineup. However, Alexei Ramirez's wife just had or will in the very near future have a baby, so he's scratched and Juan Uribe takes over at second. Jim Thome returns to the DH'ing after going 1-for-4 as a pinch hitter while the South Siders played six straight games in NL parks.
Piniella, always a fan of playing the matchups, stocks his lineup with lefties today. Opposing left-handed hitters are hitting .276 against Contreras, against .230 for righties. And slugging .432 vs. .289, mostly on the strength of a 6-1 advantage in home runs.
Ryan Dempster versus Jose Contreras today. Meanwhile, behind closed doors,
is getting quite the rubdown from Herm Schneider in the trainer's room.
What do you get someone for a 100th anniversary? Besides
, I mean.
Welcome, everyone, fans of both teams, message board users. We're here for you on this Friday afternoon.
Petty hate-filled baseball soon. Yes!
I'm starting off on WGN with the Sox crew of Hawk and DJ and Hawk is talking really, really fast. It's safe to say he's quite geeked for some "payback," as he said at least three times. Sit back, relax, and, as always, strap it down, everyone. It's strapped. Apparently Kirk Hinrich's replacement, Derrick Rose, threw out the first pitch. They didn't show it on WGN. Fukudome is in the box. Let's go. A ball and then a strike and then a foul ball. And finally a single up the middle on a pitch up and right over the plate. Is there a better looking playing field in baseball than at U.S. Cellular? Eric Patterson shows bunt but pulls the bat back and the count evens up at 1-1. Patterson checks his swing and sends a little bloop right to Joe Crede for the first out. Derrek Lee grounds to Crede, who starts an inning-ending double play.
Ryan Dempster is ready and Orlando Cabrera takes the first pitch for a ball. Cabrera loops one just out of the reach of the altitude-challenged Mike Fontenot and into right field for a leadoff single. A.J. Pierzynski flies out deep to left and Cabrera makes a head-up play, tagging and taking second on Patterson, who caught the ball drifting back towards the wall and in no position to come up throwing.
Carlos Quentin fights off a few pitches and then rips a single back through the box. Cabrera just beats Edmonds throw to the plate and the Sox take an early 1-0 lead.
That was a 2005-esque run right there: heads-up, aggressive base-running and timely hitting. Jermaine Dye grounds into a tailor-made double play that should've been routine had Mike Fontenot not tripped all over himself trying to field the ball. But the Cubs turned it and the first inning is over.
White Sox 1, Cubs 0
Hawk's still wondering when the Sox are going to drill Aramis Ramirez for hitting four homers in the last Cubs-Sox series. Instead Contreras keeps the ball over the plate and strikes out the Cubs slugger. Ward bounces a single up the middle past a sliding Cabrera. Edmonds swings at the first pitch and ground to Uribe, who flips to second to get the lead runner but Ward's slide made Cabrera throw high. Edmonds was safe at first but tweaked something and is checked out by the trainer. He's OK enough to remain in the game. Hawk says the best teams he's seen this year are the White Sox, the Cub and the Angels. Interesting. Geovany Soto takes a called third strike to end the top half of the second.
Here's a rested and refreshed Jim Thome, who was last seen making fun of Don Cooper yesterday. The count goes full and Dempster strikes out Thome. Crede bounces out to short. Nick Swisher turns on a 3-1 fastball and sends it deep but foul. He walks. Dempster falls behind Uribe 3-1 before Uribe chops one foul. Uribe lifts one to left-center; Edmonds calls off Patterson and we move to the third.
White Sox 1, Cubs 0
For the love of Poppy Hidalgo, don't rain. I just looked at the radar and there's some light sprinkles in our future. Hopefully it's light enough that they'll play through it. Or perhaps the rain clouds will just magically vanish. Derrick Rose, wearing a Sox No. 1 jersey, joins DJ in the booth as Hawk takes a break to do whatever Hawk does when he disappears in the middle of games. Fontenot flies out to right. Cedeno singles up the middle. DJ asks, "You grew up a White Sox fan, right?" Rose, who knows who's signing his pay checks, says yes. Contreras walks Fukudome and the Cubs have runners on first and second with one out and Patterson coming up. Contreras is missing his sports now and falls behind 3-0. A walk to Patterson loads the bases for Lee. Here comes Ozzie out of the dugout. it would be great if Ozzie pushed Cooper in a wheelchair out to the mound. Lee takes a big cut and misses. Ball, great catch by a fan on a line drive foul ball, ball and then Lee hits into another inning-ending double play. I was going to write earlier that I thought I heard some boos the first time Lee stepped to the plate and now I'm thinking those were Cubs fans.
The immortal Dewayne Wise digs in and pops to shallow right on the first pitch, to which Hawks bleats, "He just missed it!" Missed what? Kidding me? That ball barely made it out of the infield. Cabrera bloops one down the left-field line and he clearly knows Patterson is a converted infielder because he takes second on him again.
Pierzynski singles to left and Patterson has lost all confidence out there as the ball just goes right by him. You know Cabrera was going to test him anyway but the ball went right under Patterson's glove. Cabrera scores and Pierzynski slides into third.
Cabrera personally has manufactured the two runs, both at Patterson's expense. Dempster throws one near Quentin's head. The crowd groans.
Quentin lines one the other way that hits the right-field line, scatters the aged ballman out there and knocks home Pierzynski.
The full-count RBI double gives the Sox a 3-0 lead.
Dye singles to left and the Sox will run on Patterson all day. With good reason because his throw is towards first and Quentin slides home with the Sox's fourth run.
A major-league left-fielder throws out Quentin there. As they say, the ball will find you. As DJ, said, "Patterson has no where to hide." No, no he doesn't. Thome walks and that gets Jon Lieber up in the Cubs' pen. Dye steals third. The throw beats him by a mile but it appears Ramirez missed the tag. Piniella disagrees and is out there arguing. Replays show he's out but barely. Ramirez was really slow with the tag and that surely led to the call. Of course, Hawk says he's safe all the way. Either way the Sox have runners on the corners with with one out and Crede at the plate. Crede walks and they're loaded for Swisher.
Just after WGN shows replays of the eight grand slams by both teams in this series, Swisher rips the ninth one to left-center and it's 8-0.
U.S. Cellular goes nuts. The Sox dugout follows suit and somehow there's a life-sized post of Swisher in the midst of all the high-fiving. Swisher high-fives that, too. Why not? Lieber enters and strikes out Uribe. Wise takes a called third strike but the Sox score seven runs in the third.
White Sox 8, Cubs 0
Ramirez pops out to shallow right to open the fourth. Ward lines right into the shift as Uribe didn't even have to move from his spot in shallow right. Edmonds thinks he walks on 3-1 but, no, home-plate ump Mark Wegner calls it a strike. Edmonds then pops out to third and that's how you answer back after a seven-run inning!
Lieber's still in there and Cabrera walks. Pierzynski bloops one into shallow left and Cedeno hustles out and makes a great sliding, over-the-shoulder catch. "Mine! Get away from the ball, Eric Patterson!" And check out Ronny Cedeno, he makes a diving stop of a hard hit ball by Quentin, gets up and throws out the runner. Cabrera takes second on the play. Dye flies to left-center and again "I got it! Stay away, Eric Patterson!" as Edmonds takes it to end the fourth.
White Sox 8, Cubs 0
Geovany Soto gets one of those goals back with a solo homer to left to lead off the fifth.
Fontenot follows Soto's lead with a solo job to right and the Cubs go back to back, but still are down six runs.
Contreras goes 3-0 to Cedeno before lobbing one over for a strike. Cedeno one-hops it off Contreras and right to Crede and Cedeno is out 1-5-3. Herm Schneider comes out to check on the pitcher. Contreras waves him off. It appears the ball went off his forearm. No biggie. Fukudome bloops out to short. Patterson grounds out to second but a couple of solo homers at least save the Cubs the humiliation of being shut out.
White Sox 8, Cubs 2
Thome lines to Lee and was out so fast he didn't even have time to drop his bat. Saves the batboy the trouble of getting up. Crede pops out to second. Swisher doubles down the right-field line. Uribe flies out to Ward in right to end the inning, but the thing is Ward has no idea how many outs there are and readies himself to fire the ball back into the infield before realizing his complete absent-mindedness might make him look just a week bit silly. Too late.
White Sox 8, Cubs 2
Lee lifts one down the rigth-field line; Dye lumbers over and makes a nifty catch sliding into foul ground. "I'll tell you what," Hawk says. What? "He's all-state in two states." Come again. What, Illinois and ... Indiana? Ramirez flies out to Wise in center. Contreras gets Ward and the big Cuban has settled down again after a midly shaky fifth.
Lieber strikes out Wise looking. Cabrera pops out to Ramirez in foul ground. Pierzynski singles to right. Quentin spreads the love around and singles to left.
Dye singles home Pierzynski.
Piniella strolls out to take the ball from Lieber. Former White Sox pitcher Neal Cotts comes on for the Cubs. Cotts strikes out Thome and onward we go.
White Sox 9, Cubs 2
Edmonds knocks one out to right off Contreras to open up the seventh.
Peck, peck, peck, not gonna happen. Soto singles to left. That's all for Contreras. Boone Logan trots on. The red-headed Matt Murton will hit for Fontenot as the rain begins to fall. Murton flies out. Cedeno bounces to short, Cabrera opts to go to first and Soto ends up on second. Cabrera can't back-hand a grounder by Fukudome and the inning lives. Runners on the corners for Patterson. And in fairness to Patterson and his brutal day in left, well, he's not an outfielder. He's an infielder. And it's silly on the Cubs part to think they can hide someone in the outfield. Just like Micah Hoffpauir. The guy was stuck at first his entire minor-league career, which means somewhere along the line, someone decided he couldn't play the outfield. So, kind of out of desperation, the Cubs try him in the outfield at the major-league level even though he couldn't do it at the minor-league level. Patterson strikes out swinging.
White Sox 9, Cubs 3
Murton takes over in left. Patterson moves to second. Crede takes a ball from Cotts and eventually flies out to right. Swisher grounds out to short. Uribe bloops a single to center. Wise strikes out.
White Sox 9, Cubs 3
Octavio Dotel will pitch the eighth for the Sox. Lee will lead off for the Cubs. Lee grounds out to short and he's had a brutal day at the plate. Ramirez flies out to Wise. Ramirez and Dotel were talking to each other as Ramirez was running to first. Replays show it was a friendly conversation. How nice. Ward singles to center. Edmonds takes a called third.
Michael Wuertz is the Cubs' next pitcher and retires Cabrera to start the eighth. Pierzynski flies out to left. Quentin sinlges up the middle.
Dye drives it deep to right. Ward goes back to the wall, has no chance, the ball hits the bottom of the wall and Ward has to jam it in reverse and go fetch the ball. Needless to say, this takes a while. Quentin scores on the double and that makes 10.
Wuertz strikes out Thome and we move to the ninth. A beer is in my near future.
White Sox 10, Cubs 3
Nick Masset will pitch the ninth for the Sox and try and put this one away. The Cubs could hit six straight solo homers here and it wouldn't matter. Soto singles off Crede's glove. Murton lines it right at Quentin in left and he nearly loses it in the sun. Nearly. Cedeno flies out to right. Fukudome drives it deep to right. Dye drifts back to track, leaps and makes the catch before crashing into the wall. That's the game. Great catch to end it.
Final: White Sox 10, Cubs 3
The Sox get a game back in punishing fashion thanks to Orlando Cabrera essentially ruining Eric Patterson's career and Nick Swisher putting the game away in the third inning with a grand slam. Thanks for reading, everyone. The great Amanda Kaschube and Rahula Strohl will take you through the weekend games.