For years the “Crosstown Classic” has brought excitement to baseball fans, and while this is still a rivalry, it features one team amid a playoff race and another that packed it in at the deadline. Regardless of the situation, baseball still needs to be played, and we’ll preview the series’ opening game before going over my play for the first five innings.
The last game either of these teams played came on Sunday, as both clubs had a much-needed off day yesterday. The results of this past weekend’s series’ were drastically different for both sides, with the White Sox getting swept by the Brewers and the Cubs taking two out of three from the Blue Jays. While they did win the series, the Cubs fell on Sunday due to a rough outing by Jameson Taillon, who allowed eight earned runs in three innings, ultimately leading to an 11-4 loss.
On a positive note, the team is back at Wrigley Field tonight, and starting the first game of the series for them will be Kyle Hendricks. The right-hander is set to make his 16th start of the year and is fresh off an outing in which he worked five innings and allowed two earned runs on the way to a no-decision.
Hendricks’ matchup tonight will be a White Sox lineup that scored six runs in the opening game of their series with the Brewers but would only score a combined five runs the rest of the series. In their 7-3 loss on Sunday, the White Sox recorded nine hits, with only one going for extra bases, leaving 16 runners on base by the end of the game.
To start the series with their crosstown rivals, the White Sox will have Touki Toussaint on the mound for his 7th start with the team. The right-hander has racked up 18 strikeouts over his last two outings but has still come away with a loss in both of those games. While the strikeout numbers are impressive, Toussaint has struggled with command, allowing nine walks in those two outings, making it difficult to keep runs off the board.
The Chicago Cubs F5 run-line of (-.5) is currently priced at (-113), and I’ll be backing them for my play. It has been a season of opposites for these two crosstown rivals, and that is made clear not only by their overall record but in a few other facets. While the Cubs are the fourth most profitable F5 run-line team at home in terms of ROI, the White Sox are the third least profitable F5 run-line team on the road.
Arguably the biggest advantage the Cubs have in this game is their offense, and the matchup of a red-hot Cubs lineup at home against a starter with a combined eight earned runs over his last two starts is a glorious site for a Cubs backer. Over the last month, the Cubs' offense is hitting .331 and ranks 2nd in OPS and 1st in wRC+ against right-handed pitching at home. That’s a tough matchup for Toussaint, who is in the 26th percentile in xERA/xwOBA and has a 6.31 FIP on the road.
While Kyle Hendricks has not been light’s out over his recent outings, he is still in the 90th percentile in hard-hit percentage, and the line-up he’s facing has struggled on the road. Since July 15th, the White Sox offense ranks 18th in wRC+ and 17th in OPS against right-handed pitching on the road.
Chicago Cubs F5 (-.5)(-113)