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Crosstown Series Starts Today

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jun 11, 2010 3:20PM

With the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup victory, sports have brought the entire city together to celebrate. But just as the victory rally ends, another sport will divide us into rivals. The Cubs and White Sox begin the first of two three-game sets this afternoon at Wrigley Field. Perhaps it's best we have hockey to take attention from the Cubs and Sox this year. Neither team has played up to expectations. The Northsiders are 27-33, while the Southsiders sport a nearly identical 26-33 record. Both teams are in third place in their respective divisions, with the Cubs 7 1/2 behind the leader and the Sox 8 1/2 back.

The poor play on both sides of town mean that the Trib had to work to compile their annual All-Chicago Team. Rather than honoring those who've excelled, it's mostly composed of those who've disappointed least. And in some cases, the list doesn't even include current players -- Third base is a tie between Casey McGehee and Juan Uribe. One, the Cubs let go via waivers and the other the Sox let sign elsewhere as a free agent. Given the play of Mark Teahen and Aramis Ramirez, we can't blame them for this pick.

Each team has had their surprises so far in 2010, both good and bad. For the Sox, Friday's starter Jake Peavy has been a big disappointment. The former Cy Young winner, picked up last year in a trade while injured, is healthy but sports a 5.90 ERA to go along with a 4-5 record. Meanwhile, the Cubs' ace has been equally diappointing. Carlos Zambrano has an ERA of 6.05 and was demoted to the bullpen. He only recently returned to the rotation after six weeks as a reliever. Position players like Teahen, Ramirez and Gordon Beckham struggle with batting averages below the Mendoza Line.

There have been some positive surprises, though. Free agent pick-up Marlon Byrd is hitting .329 for the Cubs while Carlos Silva, the junk the Cubs had to take off Seattle's hands in return for their taking Milton Bradley, is a perfect 8-0 with a 2.93 ERA. Sox surprises includes last year's waiver claim Alex Rios hitting 309 with 12 homers, Andruw Jones' 10 homers in a platoon role and Freddy Garcia's solid is not spectacular return after years of injuries.

But in a down year for both clubs, even the award that could represent one of the few bright spots on the season is tainted. The newly christened BP Crosstown Cup carries the sponsorship of the world's most hated brand thanks to their desecration of the Gulf Coast. So it wouldn't surprise us if, after this weekend's series, the thing people most discuss is the newly installed Toyota sign at Wrigley.

Friday: 1:20 p.m. (Cubs TV: CSN, Radio: WGN 720 / Sox TV: WGN, Radio: WSCR 670)
Saturday: 3:10 p.m. (TV: Fox, Cubs Radio: WGN 720 / Sox Radio: WSCR 670)
Sunday: 7:00 p.m. (TV: ESPN, Cubs Radio: WGN 720 / Sox Radio: WSCR 670 )