CUBS AND SOX NOT HALF BAD
30 games into 60-game season, chicago teams appear bound for playoffs in same year for only third time
If it feels as though the baseball season is going by quickly, it’s because it is. We are zipping through this season 2.7 times faster than usual (2.7 times 60 equals 162). Ordinarily, a 162-game season is at its midpoint around the end of June. This season, the halfway mark is the last week in August. Next week, we begin the final month of the season.
Here are some first-half takeaways:
• Other than when the Cubs’ record was 1-1 and they were in second place, the team has spent every day of the first half in first place.
• Other than when the White Sox’ record was 1-1 and they were tied for first place, the team has spent most of the first half in third or fourth place. However, they ended their first half tied for second with the Indians.
• At the 30-game mark, the Sox led the majors with a .267 batting average (the Cubs were at .228) and a .479 slugging percentage (the Cubs were at .403). They led the American League with 55 homers (the Cubs had 37).
• At the 30-game mark, Sox pitchers had allowed the fewest homers in the AL with 29 (Cubs pitchers had allowed 39).
• At the 30-game mark, the Sox’ Jose Abreu was tied for the AL lead in homers with Nelson Cruz and Teoscar Hernandez at 11. He led the league by himself with 28 RBI, 80 total bases and 1.8 WAR.
• At the 30-game mark, the Sox’ Lucas Giolito led the AL with one complete-game shutout and one no-hitter.
• At the 30-game mark, Cubs batters were second in the National League with 291 strikeouts (the Braves had whiffed 297 times) and led the majors in being hit by pitches at 28.
• At the 30-game mark, the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras were tied for the NL lead with six HBP.
• At the 30-game mark, the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks led the NL at 0.947 walks per nine innings (four walks, 38 innings).
• The Cubs and Sox are partying like it’s 2008 — or maybe 1906. The 2008 and 1906 seasons are the only ones both Chicago teams made the postseason, and they both look as though they could repeat that in 2020. In 2008, the Cubs finished in first place but were swept in the NL Division Series in three games by the Dodgers. The Sox also finished first and lost the AL Division Series 3-1 to the Rays. The Sox haven’t been back to the postseason since. In 1906, the only other year both teams reached the postseason, the Sox beat the Cubs in the World Series 4-2.
Kyle Hendricks (shown against the Indians this month) turned in the Cubs’ best pitching performance of the first 30 games with an Opening Day shutout of the Brewers on July 24.