The Cubs return home from their 2-5 West Coast trip for a 10-game homestand that begins with them playing host to the crosstown rival White Sox. After struggling mightily on the road these this season, going six games under .500 away from the Friendly Confines so far, the North Siders are very much looking forward to some home cooking.
The White Sox come in as one of the biggest surprise teams of the AL this year. The young roster was expected to struggle, but have held their own against the contenders in the AL Central They come into the series only two games below .500 and with the kind of swagger you would expect from a younger brother who’s experienced a growth spurt and isn’t going to back down.
Their lineup brings a good mix of contact and power that has made the Sox a top-10 offense, mainly due to a number of breakout seasons at the plate. They are led by catcher James McCann, who is hitting .324 in his first year on the South Side, and shortstop Tim Anderson, who is enjoying his best season in the big leagues.
They are anchored by José Abreu, who continues to be the staple with 17 home runs and an AL-leading 54 RBI. Joan Moncada has broken out after struggling for the past few seasons, hitting .294 on the year. Last but not least is Eloy Jiménez, whose light-tower power Cubs fans used to dream about. He has struggled through injury and a steep learning curve in his rookie season, but is hitting .345 with five home runs, 11 RBI and a 1.337 OPS over his last eight games.
On the whole, the White Sox pitching staff has been the team’s downfall for most of the season. They do, however, have a few diamonds in the rough. The Cubs will have their work cut out for them on Wednesday, when they face legitimate Cy Young contender Lucas Giolito, whose 10 wins and 2.22 ERA lead the AL. Closer Alex Colomé locks down the late innings with 14 saves on the season.
Game and Broadcast Info
- Tuesday, June 18th at 7:05pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago
- Wednesday, June 19th at 7:05pm CT on ABC
What to Watch For
- This series kicks off an extended 10-game homestand that will include the White Sox and Mets, both of whom are very beatable. This is the perfect opportunity to use home field to their advantage to gain momentum and regain control of the tight NL Central.
- Cole Hamels has returned to form since the beginning of June. After a few short outings at the end of May, Hamels has been dominant in his three starts this month, throwing 7+ innings without an earned run. He will look to maintain momentum in the return home.
- It seems like the Cubs have a different slugger step up and deliver every night. Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, and Javier Baez have carried this lineup at times throughout the season. It’s exciting baseball to watch, knowing that any hitter in the lineup can make the difference that night.
- Will the Cubs find consistency in the bullpen? As great as the lineup feels, the bullpen continues to waver each game. With Carl Edwards Jr. on the IL and Craig Kimbrel still ramping up, the team will have to get some support from the rest of the staff to stay in a good position in the standings.