By Mark Rubel
So far this summer has been a treat or a disaster when it comes to watching your Chicago baseball. The White Sox have taken the baseball world by surprise and played great baseball. The Cubs have also been playing consistent but in a bad way
First let’s start with the Cubs. They never had much hope of making the playoffs, and have had several losing streaks including a 12 game skid in June. Despite the losing, Cubs fans remain confident under the rule of team president Theo Epstein.
As a fan of a struggling team, it is hard to watch your team game after game especially towards the end of the season when the games really don’t matter. However, Cub fans do have a reason to watch. They should be paying attention to the young prospects the Cubs have already brought up this season and the ones that will be coming up when rosters expand in September.
For as bad as the Cubs have been this year, the White Sox have been playing consistent “surprising” baseball. After being projected to lose ninety games this season by several experts, the Sox currently sit in first place atop the American League Central division.
The White Sox opened the first month of the season as a .500 team. However, after April was over the Sox really hit their stride and would not look back. Due to a slow start by the favored Detroit Tigers who were expected to run away with the division the Sox were able to gain a somewhat comfortable division lead. However, the Tigers have now picked up their play and closed the gap between them and the Sox creating a pennant race that will go down to the wire.
What have been the keys to success for this White Sox this season? The number one key has been the moves made by general manager Kenny Williams. Williams did not have much money to spend this off-season to make moves as he did last year when they were all in and ended up having a busted season resulting in the firing of Ozzie Guillen. So instead of going after the big name managers Williams did what he has always done and made an under the radar move by hiring former White Sox third-baseman Robin Ventura.
Overall this season for the White Sox has been the total opposite of what they were last year. Ventura has his team coming to the ball park everyday playing with more confidence and thinking they are going to win. Two players with a renewed sense of confidence are right fielder Alex Rios and designated hitter Adam Dunn. Both players had the worst seasons of their careers last season which led to questions on how they would rebound. Those questions have been answered and thanks to those two players along with a career year by another one of the White Sox core players: catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, has made it one fun year if you are a fan of the Chicago White Sox.
Although the White Sox season has been totally different from the Cubs season as far as results goes ,believe it or not both, teams do have some similarities. One major similarity is the young prospects of each team. Along with the prospects for the Cubs mentioned earlier the sox have also had strong performances from young players. Rookie starting pitcher Chris Sale is having a Cy Young type of year, while the White Sox closer Addison Reed is also a rookie.