Good morning, frents!
The Sox are playing a game in a cornfield this week and the Bears return to a Soldier Field with fans and a potential franchise-changing QB in tow.
It'll be interesting to see how close (or not close) the TV ratings end up.
Sox 9, Cubs 3
Fire 2, Red Bulls 1
Orlando 2, Red Stars 0
Brewers at Cubs (7:10, Marquee)
Sox at Twins (7:10, NBCSCH, ESPN)
Sox make history with weekend at Wrigley
Sometimes things play out exactly how we think they might.
Exhibit A: This weekend's Crosstown Classic, a White Sox sweep that ended with a decisive 9-3 pounding on Sunday Night Baseball.
The only real drama in the series came on Friday afternoon when Andrew Romine — a 35-year-old journeyman who'd been playing in Triple-A all season until the Cubs' deadline dismantling — hit a game-tying home run off previously untouchable Craig Kimbrel in the eighth inning.
But the Sox were able to overcome even that with four runs in the top of the 10th and the team was off to its first three-game sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley Field since 2012.
Sunday's game featured what has seemingly become an annual tradition of Eloy Jimenez giving the Cubs an up close look of what they're missing. The former Cubs farmhand hit two homers and a double for a total of five RBI. He's hitting .389 with five homers, five doubles and 10 RBI in 10 career games against the Cubs.
The other big story for the Sox was the performance of the team's pitching. Sox pitchers punched out a total of 45 Cubs batters over the three games with Carlos Rodon striking out 11 on Saturday and former Cubs prospect Dylan Cease nabbing 10 on Sunday.
According to Stats, the Sox are the first modern-era team to strike out 45 batters and hit eight home runs in a three-game series.
Now, how excited should the Sox be over any of this?
The team is 66-46 and owners of a 10.5-game lead in the AL Central, the only double-digit advantage in the major leagues. The lineup came up with big hits over the weekend and the pitching is getting the job done. (The staff's ERA of 3.62 ranks second in the AL behind Tampa Bay.)
It came against a Cubs franchise that lit fire to the joint last weekend and is starting players named Frank Schwindel and Greg Deichmann instead of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. They've lost 10 of their last 12 and have a not-small chance of hitting 90 losses with their current 52-61.
The Sox aren't going to be the last team to sweep the Cubs in 2021. So chalk it up to a job that needed doing.
And maybe a platform for bigger things? The Sox were in a bit of a funk before this, but Luis Robert is slated to rejoin the team in Minnesota on Monday. Yasmani Grandal is on the road back. They'll get another national star turn in Dyersville on Thursday night for the Field of Dreams game and then a challenging 11-game stretch against Oakland at home and Tampa Bay and Toronto on the road. We'll likely get to know a lot about the revamped and resurrected Sox during that run.
And after that? It's another three-game set against the Cubs, this time on the South Side from August 27-29.
We can probably predict how that one will turn out, too.
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Justin Fields get his first big moment this week
Not that he hasn't had a few in camp so far — including this great sidearm touchdown pass to Riley Ridley on Sunday.
But Fields will get his first action against non-Bears teammates when the Dolphins roll into town this week for a pair of joint practices at Halas Hall and an exhibition game at Soldier Field on Saturday (Noon, Fox).
Fields has been solid (and maybe a little more?) in camp, but Andy Dalton hasn't done anything to lose his starting gig. And given the banged-up state of the Bears OL, maybe it's not a terrible idea to have Dalton start Week 1.
Luke Stojanovic scored twice as the Fire (4-9-5) won at Soldier Field for the first time since July 3 and just the third time this year.
Orlando had been winless in its last six, but won on Sunday to pull even with the Red Stars and Gotham FC for the third-most points in the NWSL standings.
- Great piece: Jon Greenberg caught up with Kris Bryant in Milwaukee to find out how our man is moving on. The Athletic
- I visited Dyersville two years ago after the Field of Dreams game had been announced to see if the locals were excited. (Spoiler alert: They were.) Yahoo Sports
- The NBA is investigating the Lonzo Ball trade for tampering since it was announced about three seconds after the negotiating window opened. ESPN
- Bobby Bowden died on Sunday at age 91, so let's rewatch NBC's intro for 1993's Game of the Century against Notre Dame. YouTube
- The inside story of how one half of Cespedes BBQ biked from New York to Chicago because of Tony La Russa. Block Club Chicago
Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday just joined Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan in becoming the only teammates to win a NBA title and Olympic gold medal in the same summer.
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