Chicago prides themselves on their successful sports teams. From Jordan’s Bulls, to the ’85 Bears, and to the recent success of the Blackhawks, Chicago has always been a hub for sports excellence. Recently, baseball has gone under the radar and has become a second thought to many of the people from Chi-Town. But something special is brewing in the windy city. Both the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs stand alone at the top of their respective divisions.
Before the start of the 2016 season, everybody predicted the Cubs to continue their dominate ways. After racking up 97 wins just a year ago, the Cubbies are back on track to go far into the playoffs once more. Through the first month of the season, the Cubs own the best record in baseball at 17-6, putting them three games up in a highly competitive, NL Central. The hot start hasn’t been so easy; in fact, the Cubs have faced some adversity in the beginning stages of the season. Led by Joe Maddon, the Cubs continue to produce, even without their lefty power-hitter Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber went down with a devastating knee injury early in April. Last season, Schwarber made a splash in his rookie year, blasting 16 home runs in just 69 starts. Losing Schwarber’s bat in the middle of the lineup looked like it was the start to another disappointing season. But the Cubs haven’t skipped a beat. The depth of this squad is remarkable and the pitching rotation is one of the best in the league. This team is well equipped to go far into the playoffs and the people of Chicago should be excited for what’s to come.
Moving to Chicago’s South side, we have the leaders of the AL Central, the Chicago White Sox. An offseason full of drama led fans to believe that this was going to be just another lost season. It seemed there was a rift between upper management and the players, which we all know is a recipe for disaster. Today, the White Sox have the second best record in the MLB at 18-8, right behind the Cubs. Many people didn’t expect the hot start from the White Sox, especially after the mediocre 2015 campaign they had. But if you look deeper, the White Sox hot start shouldn’t be a surprise at all.
The rebuild of the White Sox started early last offseason when they made an abundance of acquisitions. White Sox Executive Vice President, Kenny Williams, made moves early and often. Players such as Alexei Ramirez, Gordan Beckham, Geovany Soto, and Jeff Samardzija were all signed by other teams, leaving huge voids in the field and pitching staff to be filled. Well, Christmas came early for White Sox fans, when they acquired Brett Lawrie from the Oakland Athletics and Todd Frazier from the Cincinnati Reds in mid-December. Both of these bats in the middle of the White Sox lineup have been a main reason for the success of this ball club. The moves didn’t stop there though. The White Sox picked up veterans Jimmy Rollins and Austin Jackson to round out the lineup. With the loss of Samardzija, the White Sox needed to find another starting pitcher. Their answer to this problem was acquiring Mat Latos from free agency. Latos has been lights out this season, toting a 4-0 record and an ERA of just 1.84. And although the White Sox made some great moves in the offseason, a lot of the help has been coming from the players they have had for years. All-Star pitcher, Chris Sale, is showing everybody what he’s worth by compiling a 6-0 record, an ERA of 1.66, and a 0.88 WHIP, making him everybody’s favorite for Cy Young so far. Keeping this pace up for the whole season is going to be tough, but the White Sox are equipped to make that happen.
The city of Chicago should be excited for what’s to come. Both teams have an average age of 28 and seem poised to be successful for many years to come. Who knows? We may be seeing both these teams face off against each other come October.