Just another crazy day in Chicago series
CHICAGO — The perfect ingredients to a Cubs-White Sox game were all on display Tuesday at Wrigley Field, making for a near-perfect afternoon.
All that was missing in the Cubs’ 7-2 victory was a brawl.
“Rather enjoyable,” Cubs Manager Joe Maddon said.
If you have seen all 110 City Series matchups since interleague play began in 1997 and covered characters such as Carlos Zambrano, Ozzie Guillen, Milton Bradley and John Lackey over the years, you know the kind of things that make Cubs-Sox affairs the gift that keeps on giving:
■ SUNSHINE The most memorable Cubs-Sox games are typically played in the daytime, including the one that featured the infamous Michael Barrett- A.J. Pierzynski fight in 2006. Every City Series game should be scheduled during the day, no matter how much Cubs management whines about not having enough night games at Wrigley Field. The atmosphere is better, and fans can get home before midnight.
■ STAREDOWNS Jose Abreu stared down Lackey, the king of staredowns, after being plunked for the second time in the game in the fifth inning with the Cubs ahead two runs.
“I think we all know what is happening,” Abreu said to the media, adding we should go ask Lackey about it.
Abreu isn’t a fighter, so there was no reason to believe the situation was going to get further inflamed. But you can always dream.
■ HAWK HARRELSON Forget about retirement talk. “Hawk” should come back for the rest of his life just to call Cubs-Sox games, even if he takes all the others off.
“That’s enough of that, Lackey, that’s enough of that BS,” he ranted after Abreu was hit the second time. “OK, let’s see which one of your boys is going to get drilled. Or maybe you.”
Just Hawk being Hawk. You either love him or you love to hate him, but you can’t ignore him.
■ EJECTIONS Kris Bryant was ejected after arguing with plate ump Lance Barksdale on a called third strike in the fourth inning. It was a lousy call, and Bryant was shocked that he got the thumb because he wasn’t all that animated, especially in comparison to Willson Contreras’ game-ending scene Monday after striking out, and Bryant apparently didn’t swear at Barksdale.
“I have to stick up for myself sometimes,” he said. “I’ve seen plenty of people ejected before and (seen) some of their antics and what they say. Sometimes it’s like ‘Wow, how are you getting away with that?’ I didn’t really say anything out of the ordinary.”
■ WARNINGS Barksdale handed out warnings to both teams after Chris Beck retaliated for Lackey hitting three batters in the fifth when he plunked Ian Happ leading off the sixth. Lackey was OK with the Sox throwing at the Cubs in retaliation, even if he said it wasn’t on purpose.
“If I’m pitching on the other side, I’d probably hit somebody, for sure,” Lackey said.
Happ was the lucky recipient of the White Sox’s retaliation. “I told ‘Happy’ ‘My bad, apologize for that,’ ” Lackey said. “I have to buy him something nice for being hit. The game polices itself.”
■ BIG CELEBRATIONS Contreras celebrated his three-run home run off Carlos Rodon by wagging his finger in the air. Carl Edwards Jr. celebrated his strikeout of Abreu in the sixth with the tying runs in scoring position.
Big moments call for a playoff-caliber show of emotions, like Jose Valentin mocking Sammy Sosa’s home run routine during the 2001 City Series.
“It was really big for me just because he’s a great hitter,” Edwards said of the Abreu strikeout. “Ever since he came into the league, you don’t hear about him a lot but he can hit, and to get a guy like that out, it brings out emotions.”
■ CRAZY OCCURENCES Sox starter Carlos Rodon became the first pitcher since at least 2013 to strike out at least 11 in an outing of four innings or less, and also contributed a two-run double off Lackey.
“That was a little bit difficult to watch,” Maddon said to Craig Lynch, a blind reporter.
“It was hard for me to watch, too,” Lynch replied.
Maddon laughed and said: “I saw it exactly like you did.”
All in all, just a typical Cubs-Sox game?
“No,” Bryant said. “Just another baseball game to me.”
You can’t please everyone.