Sox Fighting To Stay Afloat, Cubs Cruising in Second Half


The Cubs will count on rookie Kris Bryant to continue pushing for a spot in the postseason

Alejandra Franco , Sports Editor

In baseball, August usually marks the dog days where there is little activity until September when the rush for the playoffs begins. That hasn’t been the case in Chicago this season.

Both clubs had a successful offseason.

The Chicago White Sox were marking their 10th anniversary since that fateful year of 2005 when they won the World Series. Perhaps as an ode to 2005, or maybe even in an attempt to equalize it, the Sox gave their fans something to look forward to. Making their offseason an exciting one, the Southside club added former Cub, Jeff Samardzija to their rotation. Along with pitcher Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Hector Noesi, and John Danks, the Southside seemed to have a solid rotation. Outfielder Melky Cabrera was signed and was expected to strengthen the lineup alongside 2014 Rookie of the Year, Jose Abreu.

That hasn’t been the case, however. Instead of battling the Royals for first place, the Sox are at a standstill in fourth place, ahead of Cleveland while trailing Detroit and Minnesota. These days the biggest challenge the Southside team seems to have is staying afloat with a .500 record.

The biggest surprise came from the Northside of Chicago.

After the arrival of team president Theo Epstein and general manager, Jed Hoyer, in 2011, things quickly began moving forward. The Chicago Cubs’ front office used the offseason to ensure it would continue to do so. The first, and probably most important acquisition from the Cubs, was signing pitcher Jon Lester whom arguably, had his best season ever in 2014. It took Lester a few starts to adjust, and he is currently the only left-handed pitcher in Cubs’ franchise history with four, double-digit strikeout games in a single season.

It’s been a work in progress for the team once referred to as the “Lovable Losers.” The new front office has ensured that that nickname be old news, and on the field, have fans only thinking about the future. At the beginning of the season, the most popular name coming from the Cubs’ farm system was Kris Bryant, a key part of the future team that would lead the Northsiders into the postseason. In the beginning of the season, the name Bryant was synonymous with Rookie of the Year. That also didn’t go as planned. While the third baseman has been reliable in the lineup, there is another player making a much louder rookie debut: Kyle Schwarber.

If the Cubs have a Rookie of the Year award and Bryant was in line for it, Schwarber is making a case for himself to take it from him. The catcher was called up from the minors as a precautionary backup to starting catcher, Miguel Montero, who was dealing with back pain. In his first start, Schwarber had four hits, including a triple.

While first baseman Anthony Rizzo may not be making a case for Rookie of the Year, he could be making it for the league MVP. Rizzo has developed since his rookie season in 2011, and quickly became a clutch player within the lineup.

For a long time, the Cubs have served as the punch line of jokes. It’s no wonder Cubs fans are skeptical to get excited about this team. But when your team has one of the best records in baseball during August that is no joke. If the Cubs can continue winning ballgames, they don’t need to focus on the results of the other teams. If they can continue their hot streak, it may take them all the way to the postseason.

So maybe this was supposed to be the season where fans remembered more than the 10th anniversary of the White Sox winning the World Series. Nothing is ever predictable in baseball, so maybe this is the Cubs’ year after all.