The White Sox and Cubs will officially wrap up their Crosstown Series with a makeup game on Monday night at US Cellular Field. The game was rained out shortly after starting back in May, and the slate was wiped clean. The Sox are fresh off a predictable sweep at the hands of the Rays in Tampa, while the Cubs won two of three from Pittsburgh at Wrigley.
This is a one day stop for the Sox, as they will head out to Detroit for their first series with the Tigers after the game. The Cubs have won all three meetings between the Chicago clubs the season.
Monday’s make-up game pitching matchup will have Matt Garza (4-1, 3.45 ERA) taking on Hector Santiago (3-5, 3.50 ERA).
Garza will be making his tenth start of the season for the Cubs after being activated from the DL back in late May. He has been pretty good this year, especially lately. In his last four starts, Garza is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA and has held opponents to a .178 batting average. He has struck out 28 batters to eight walks in 30 innings of work in those four starts. Also, he’s worked at least seven innings in each of the last four starts.
After a couple of rough outings to start his year, Garza seems to be fully healthy now and pitching very well. However, like several members of the White Sox, he will probably not be in town much longer. The Cubs are hoping for another solid start from Garza to pump up his trade value. Lifetime against the White Sox, Garza is 2-3 with a 4.70 ERA in seven starts, but is 2-0 with a 3.43 ERA in four starts at US Cellular Field. That’s not including game three of the 2008 ALDS, when he lost to John Danks back when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. Jeff Keppinger (5-for-8, 2 doubles) has had some success against Garza, while Alex Rios (.179) and Adam Dunn (.100, 8 K’s) have struggled.
For Hector Santiago, it has been a bit of a roller coaster the last few times to the mound. Of his last five starts, three of them were good, resulting in a 2-0 record with a 1.71 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 21.1 innings. However, in the other two starts, Hector was 0-1 with a 8.10 ERA with seven BB’s in 7.2 innings. Santiago’s last start was a good one: seven innings, five hits, two earned runs, two walks, nine strikeouts. It will be interesting to see if he can finally string a couple of good outings together.
Santiago made a relief appearance against the Cubs back on May 29, allowing two runs on two hits in 1.1 innings. He has never made a start against the North Siders, but is 0-0 lifetime with a 3.60 ERA in three relief outings.
Trade Bait: With both Chicago teams well out of the playoff race, both teams are looking to trade off veterans for younger pieces. Garza’s start is important for the Cubs, as they hope it will continue to add to his trade value. Considering the way the Sox have been hitting, it’s a pretty good bet that it will. The Sox have also been said to be shopping a number of vets, including Alex Rios, who has been in a bit of a slump recently. Some have speculated that being the subject of trade talks has affected Rios at the plate. The Sox hope that he will snap out of it soon and keep his trade value high.
Charlotte Sox: At times, the Sox resembled their AAA club over the weekend from the start of the season, as injuries and demotions have forced the Sox to make some promotions from Charlotte and evaluate which players could be a part of the Sox future. One player that many believe will be is catcher Josh Phegley, who went 2-for-7 with a home run and three RBI in his first two games with the Sox. Brent Morel and Blake Tekotte also started on Sunday. On the mound, Sox fans got their first look at Simon Castro, who tossed three scoreless innings on Friday night.
The Sox scored four runs in three games against the Rays over the weekend. Shocking that they were swept, wasn’t it? Now, they fly home for one day before heading to Detroit. While they are home, they get to face one of the hottest pitchers in baseball. This doesn’t sound like it is going to work out well. It would be nice if the Sox can win and at least avoid the season sweep at the hands of the Cubs, but I wouldn’t bet on it.