MLB 2016 Game #7: White Sox vs. CubsUntil the sixth inning last night, the Chicago White Sox were in complete control. Anthony Ranaudo made his first start for the White Sox and carried a no-hitter into the sixth until Kris Bryant belted a solo home run to tie the game. In fact, Ranaudo homered for his first career hit in the top of the fifth. That proved to be the lone run for the White Sox. The Chicago Cubs scored two in the seventh then five in the eighth.
With the loss last night, the White Sox (50-51, .495) have dropped below the .500 mark. They now sit in third place in the American League Central, eight games behind the Cleveland Indians. The White Sox swept both games against the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field and then they seemed well on their way to taking the first of two at Wrigley Field.
Tonight, Chris Sale (14-3, 3.18 ERA) returns to the mound since earning a five-game suspension for protesting the decision to wear 1976 throwback jerseys and destroying team property. Sale is still heavily involved in trade talks as the August 1 deadline approaches.
Sitting 20 games above .500, the Cubs (60-40, .600) hold a 6.5-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. During their last 33 games, the Cubs are 13-20. With a win this evening, the Cubs will split the season series the White Sox. If it matters, the White Sox have already claimed the Crosstown Cup for 2016. Yawn.
Win-loss records for pitchers do not necessarily indicate how well a hurler is working. Bullpens can implode or offense can mask bad starting pitching. Regardless, John Lackey (7-7, 3.79 ERA) has not recorded a win since June 8. Since that game, he is 0-5 with a bloated 5.73 ERA.
Fun Fact: The last time I saw the Cubs and White Sox play was on July 11, 2015 at Wrigley Field. The pitching matchup was Chris Sale vs. Jon Lester. The White Sox won, 5-1.