Crosstown Rivalry, Just Two Thousand Miles Away

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The Cubs hosted the White Sox for the second time on Saturday, with one split squad getting day duty while the other would face the Dodgers in the night game.  Joe Maddon had a silly lineup going for both contests:

Kyle Hendricks pitched into the fifth inning, but the Cubs decided to play it safe as he got to pitch #70.  However, Hendricks was typically good as he racked up seven strikeouts while hitting one batter (former friend Welington Castillo, who got his revenge with a double later on).  The changeup definitely looked good:

Victor Caratini, who is hoping to be the backup catcher (but who might just play every day in Iowa just to keep fresh), gave the Cubs an early lead:

I did see Caratini try a couple of back pick throws at catcher, but while the effort was nice, it was easy to tell that he didn’t have quite the cannon we’re used to from Willson Contreras, who is apparently recovering from an illness.  That would explain why we haven’t seen him in games lately.  The Cubs are taking this time to be cautious with their guys, as others like Pedro Strop and Javier Baez are also taking it easy to make sure they don’t aggravate any nagging injuries while also being ready for Opening Day.  Caratini did start a rundown to get out of the fifth inning after the Sox took the lead, so that was nice.

Opposing starter Lucas Giolito had his way with most of the non-Caratini Cubs hitters, racking up plenty of strikeouts of his own:

Appropriately, Giolito was knocked out by the only guy who scored off him as Caratini led off the fifth inning with a walk (but it’s spring training, so gotta watch those pitch counts!).  It took a bit before Tommy La Stella drove in the game-tying run, and then the regulars were all done.

The Cubs eventually pulled ahead, and we got to see Eloy Jimenez (in a White Sox uniform, *tear*) hit late in the game in his first Cactus League at-bat per the broadcast.  As luck would have it, Eloy destroyed an 0-2 hanger to straightaway center field and gave the Sox the lead again.

But y’know, the Cubs have Jose Quintana, so life will go on for now.  The Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on Cael Brockmeyer‘s solo shot, and that’s how it ended.

The Sox are on the up-and-up and could be pesky against the Cubs in the regular season as they have six head-to-head interleague matchups. One of those series will be late in September, when guys like Eloy will be up during roster expansion time, so there’s potential for some wild times during the stretch run. Having two good teams in Chicago is a good thing, though, so I’m all for it as long as the Cubs go 6-0 (I’m also good with 5-1).

In division rival news:

There are still free agents out there if the Brewers are a tad desperate, and they might be had on the cheap, too (even if doing so is a touch suspect, that’s the system that is in place right now).  I’d almost suggest the Cubs try to sign a few, but honestly, there might not be room on the roster as currently constructed.


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About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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