The Chicago White Sox are ten games above .500 and hold down 1st place in the AL Central.
The Chicago Cubs are ten games under .500 and ten games behind the Cincinnati Reds for 1st place in the NL Central.
See a difference?
Chicago fans have seen the difference as the Sox and Cubs head down the second half stretch playing very different baseball.
The Sox have blasted through the competition in the past two months with monster homeruns and stellar pitching. The Cubs on the other hand have squandered priceless opportunities to make the NL Central race even more interesting.
The White Sox began the season on a poor note, but after having suffered a 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians on June 5 the South Siders turned things around. Getting their record to a reasonable 28-34 record, the Sox went on an 11-game winning streak. Two of those victories coming over the cross town rival Chicago Cubs. As the second half of the season gets under way, the Sox just put together another nine game winning streak that propelled the team into a 1.5 game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central.
The Cubs began the season on an equally sour note, unable to push their early season record above the Mendoza line. On May 29, the Cubs stood at 24-26 as they beat out division rival St. Louis behind a gem by newly acquired Carlos Silva. Silva pushed his regular season record to (7-0), becoming one of the few bright spots on a hapless Cubs team. That’s when things began to fall apart. Losing one run games has become all too familiar as the Cubs falter to the position they’re in now: 41-51 with over two and a half months of baseball left to play.
As the second half of the 2010 regular season gets under way the two Chicago teams are headed down two very different paths.
The Sox have a chance to create a strong hold on their divisional lead despite heading into one of the hardest second half schedules in all of baseball. The White Sox pitching staff has done a tremendous job of keeping games close, with the team has giving up 380 total runs, the least in the AL Central. The teams batting average is middle of the pack, but offensive sluggers like Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin boast big home run totals giving the Sox 102 total home runs on the season, good for sixth in the majors. With such success, Sox fans are talking about upgrading via trade and winning a divisional title.
The Cubs have a chance, but all of that hinges on the teams hitting and bullpen. Despite amassing the 11th best ERA in the majors (3.97) and the second most strikeouts (728), the Cubs bullpen has given up more games than you could shake a stick at. The second problem has been hitting. From leaving men on base to untimely hitting, the Cubs have only 365 total runs batted in on the season, good for 22nd in the MLB. Veterans like Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee, and Alfonso Soriano—despite leading the team in home runs and RBI’s—are wearing down faster than anyone first envisioned. Such poor play has Cubs fans drowning in their sorrows and plenty of Old Style on the side.
No one truly knows what the second half of play will bring, but the Cubs and Sox are sure to have two different stories when the end of the regular season rolls around on October 3.