Rush is playing at the United Center in about a week-and-a-half, but that’s not what 2112 references in the headline. It’s our Chicago baseball teams record after Opening Weekend. The White Sox have a 2-1 record in the AL Central while the Cubs sit at 1-2 in the NL Central. Both the Sox and Cubs played weaker teams in their division this weekend.
The White Sox looked like a completely different team offensively during their series against the Cleveland Indians, while the Cubs posted a win against the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team that they beat only five times in 2010. While both Sox and Cubs fans would like to be 3-0 this season, and both teams had opportunities to make that happen it was still a positive weekend overall.
The White Sox posted 24 runs and even though only one of those came on Sunday they looked more like the team fans were sold on last season that never materialized. Juan Pierre and Gordon Beckham set the table for the heart of the line-up to clean up. Adam Dunn has been effective to say the least. Carlos Quentin seems to be the CQ of 2008, and the starting pitching was progressively better each game.
On the negative side of things, Alex Rios does not have a hit yet and Will Ohman looks more like the pitcher that Cubs fans wanted to run out of town. He struggled again today and let the game get out of hand. The Sox went 9-9 against the Indians last season, so getting out to a 2-1 series win is a good start to the season. The Indians can still hit and might be better the next time the Sox see them with the return of Grady Sizemore later this month.
On the North Side those pesky Pirates got the best of the Cubs this weekend, but the good news is the Cubs took one. I watched bits and pieces of the Cubs this weekend and one thing that looked different to me was they seemed to have more fight this season. Marmol was lights out on Saturday and even though he took the loss on Sunday he didn’t pitch that poorly. Yes a walk lead to putting the winning run on base, but who would ever have imagined that clean-up hitter, Lyle Overbay, would bunt and two runs would score on a dribbler that barely made it past the pitcher’s mound. Unlike last season though the Cubs had the tying run at third base in the bottom half of the inning.
Matt Garza had 12 strikeouts; unfortunately he also had 12 hits, but left the game with a 4-3 lead on Sunday. Carlos Zambrano looked pretty solid on Saturday, but he left the game with a hand cramp. Always something with that guy. There’s no sophomore slump for Starlin Castro at the moment. He leads the team with a .615 batting average and looks another year smarter. Carlos Pena came inches away from his first home run on Sunday while Alfonso Soriano hit his first.
Aramis Ramirez may be hitting .364 at the moment, but he does not seem to have his power stroke, which could be a problem. The reason it’s a problem is the Cubs are counting on 30 home runs from Ramirez, not base hits. While he seems to be seeing the ball well enough he’s almost Bobby Abreu like at the moment; high average with minimal power. It’s only the first weekend but he should be watched closely as he is as much of wild card for the Cubs as CQ for the White Sox. Ryan Dempster pitched as poorly on Friday as he did in his last Spring outing. That can’t be a good sign.
Monday begins a new week in baseball and can lead to new things. The Cubs host the Diamondbacks tomorrow afternoon, while the Sox go to KC for a short two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday before coming home to Chicago for their home Opening Day against the Rays. I’ll be there, as it will be my 19th opening day in 21 years. I know… “We’re happy for you!”