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Baseball Mon Jul 04 2011

Sox Prove They're Less Bad Than Cubs

Joe Cowley is probably right: This was an average team beating a bad team.

Thumbnail image for cubs.gifThumbnail image for white sox.gifBut that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the back half of our crosstown baseball rivalry, as the White Sox won the six-game season series by taking two of three games at Wrigley Field this weekend. They won 6-4 on Friday and 1-0 on Saturday before the Cubs recovered to take Sunday's finale, 3-1.

If you missed it:

-- Yay, the White Sox are at .500! OK, not anymore, not after Sunday's loss, but it was a glorious moment there, wasn't it? That 42-43 record looks a lot better next to the Cubs' 35-50 mark. Thank heaven for the continuing mediocrity of the AL Central.

-- Juan Pierre, hitting .355 (11-for-31) with seven RBIs in his past seven games, drove in the winning runs in both Sox victories, so it was a great time for Ozzie Guillen to face the full complement of local media. I mean, heck, if his "I told you so" routine holds out, if Pierre comes up big in the second half, Ozzie will look like a genius for sticking with the aging slap hitter. But it's hard to see that happening.

-- Last time the White Sox saw Aramis Ramirez, he was hitting .277 with a .727 OPS. Since then, he's hitting .400 (16-for-40) with seven homers and 11 RBIs. It's 11 games, but get him while he's hot.

-- It didn't look like a banner weekend for starting pitching: Edwin Jackson, Phil Humber and Gavin Floyd vs. Randy Wells, Matt Garza and Rodrigo Lopez. But that was before you remembered neither of these offenses can really hit. Garza, Humber and the immortal Lopez combined to allow one run on 11 hits in 23 innings.

And of course, there were only 11 walks the entire weekend. Because hardly anyone in this town knows how to draw a walk. It's a problem. More on that later in the week.

Here's how our partisan critics saw it:

Brian Livingston on the Cubs:

Highlights: Aramis Ramirez getting his 300th home run. Matt Garza pitching a complete game. Rodrigo Lopez's seven shutout innings. Marlon Byrd returning to the lineup. Not being swept.

Lowlights: Not being able to support Garza's stellar performance on Saturday. Letting Juan Pierre beat you. The BP cup still exists. Not taking two of three, much less sweeping.

Jenny Zelle on the Sox:

While I'm pleased that the Sox managed to take two of three from the Cubs on their own turf, a sweep would have been ideal going into a 19-game stretch against their AL Central rivals. Despite the wins this weekend -- and every win counts, so no complaints here -- the anemic showing from the Sox offense in this series is alarming. The pitching staff has been stellar and it's largely due to them that the Sox took this series, but the offense needs to start backing them up with some run support. As good as the White Sox rotation is, they can't be expected to pitch no-hitters every day to win.
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