Monday, June 15, 2009

Another Cubs-Sox Preview

Can you say man-crushes?

I agree with Justin that this series is a little over-hyped, and I would like to make an observation on the nature of rivalries in Major League Baseball. The sport of baseball (although I haven't played outside of little league) doesn't seem to tailor to the fierceness and "hatred" that in large part define rivalries.

No doubt baseball rivalries mean a lot to us fans, and that alone makes them important. However, I don't think a baseball rivalry can be put on the same stage as one in football, especially, or even hockey or basketball. The out-and-out, non-stop physical aspects of those sports actually fosters the players themselves feeling more of the intensity that comes with a rivalry.

Do the Cubs and Sox players hate eachother? I don't think so. I have never heard anything but respectful words from both sides. Even Ozzie, despite his thoughts about Wrigley, always peppers those statements with nice things about Lou or the players.

To me, it just isn't as "cool" when the players aren't as into it as they are in a Mizzou-kU football/basketball game. I'm not trying to undercut the Cubs-Sox rivalry because it is a great thing for the city and fans of both teams, I'm just voicing a thought I have on rivalries in general.

As for the upcoming series and mainly pitching matchups:

Game 1: Big Z looks to be in one of his month-or-so stretches of being an upper-echelon starter, as he has been very good in all 5 starts since coming off the DL. Danks is a good pitcher, but I think that with the right-handed bats of Lee and Soto looking better lately and the fact Bradley has been better from the right side, the Cubs should take this game.

Game 2: I don't follow the Sox closely enough to make generalizations about them, but I think that the notion they never hit against starters they've never seen is not a sure thing. Randy Wells came way down in his last start against the Twins, and for the first time has to respond to some adversity. The Sox have enough power to punish him for mistakes. Also, the Cubs seem to struggle historically against hard-throwing righties, and Gavin Floyd fits that bill. Thus, Game 2 goes to the Sox.

Game 3: Maybe it is being diplomatic, but I think Game 3 is a complete toss-up. Contreras has been great his last two starts and Dempster has been nearly as good in his last three. This should either be a great pitching duel, or a run-fest if both pitchers regress to their early-season form. Too close to call, but I'd say Sox win just because their lineup is a little better in my mind.

With the way this series has historically gone down (and especially after last year), how about this: Sox sweep this series then Cubs follow with a sweep at the Cell. Season series goes 3-3, Cubs get one more run to tie the all-time run totals (stat courtesy of Ken). Pretty much how it should go right? Oh wait, Sox do have one BIG number they added in 2005...not as even as it seemed after all I guess.

Photo courtesy

No comments:

Post a Comment