Cubs

Crosstown crossovers in the last 15 years

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Crosstown crossovers in the last 15 years

When Kosuke Fukudome appears in his first game for the White Sox in 2012, he'll become the 17th player to play for both the Cubs and White Sox since interleague play began in 1997. The other players on the list range from obvious to forgotten to completely random.

My criteria for doing this is simple: The player had to play on both the Cubs and White Sox from 1997 on. That means Sammy Sosa (White Sox 1989-1991, Cubs 1992-2004), Kevin Tapani (White Sox 1996, Cubs 1997-2001) and Tanyon Sturtze (Cubs 1995-1996, White Sox 2000) didn't make the cut, among others.

Without further ado, let's go to the list:

Will Ohman: Cubs 2000-2001, 2005-2007, White Sox 2011
With the Cubs: Ohman threw 160 innings, the most with any team, and posted a 4.33 ERA.
With the White Sox: Entering the second season of a two-year, 4 million deal, Ohman will be Robin Ventura's primary left-handed reliever in late-game situations if Matt Thornton closes.

Juan Pierre: Cubs 2006, White Sox 2010-2011
With the Cubs: Pierre led the National League in hits, at-bats and caught stealings.
With the White Sox: Pierre had a good 2010, but struggled in 2011. Led the AL in caught stealings in both years.

Bob Howry: White Sox 1998-2002, Cubs 2006-2008, 2010
With the Cubs: Was torched in 2008 after two solid years in 2006 and 2007; infamously had a fan run up to him in the ninth inning of a game Howry blew in 2007.
With the White Sox: Came over from San Francisco as part of the 1997 White Flag trade, was a key part of the 2000 AL Central champion's bullpen.

David Aardsma: Cubs 2006, White Sox 2007
With the Cubs: Had a 4.08 ERA, but allowed nine home runs in 54 innings.
With the White Sox: Started out great, but fizzled along with the rest of the bullpen and finished the year with a 6.40 ERA.

Neal Cotts: White Sox 2003-2006, Cubs 2007-2009
With the Cubs: Ran into injury issues, saw some effectiveness in 2008 but was out of baseball with a 7.36 ERA in 2009.
With the White Sox: Was dominant as the team's go-to lefty during the 2005 World Series run.

Aaron Miles: White Sox 2003, Cubs 2009
With the Cubs: Following a career year in St. Louis, Miles hit .185 with the Cubs in his worst season as a pro.
With the White Sox: Had some promising OBP numbers in the minor leagues, got 12 at-bats in the majors in 2003 and was shipped to Colorado for Juan Uribe that winter.

Scott Eyre: White Sox 1997-2000, Cubs 2006-2008
With the Cubs: Had a 4.03 ERA in three years. But let's use this time to point out that he received an MVP vote in 2005 with the Giants.
With the White Sox: Struggled as both a starter and reliever, compiling a 5.66 ERA. Came into his own as a pitcher after being dealt to Toronto following the 2000 season.

Ross Gload: Cubs 2000, White Sox 2004-2006
With the Cubs: Played in 17 games as a September call-up and hit his first career home run on the fourth of the month against the Rockies.
With the White Sox: Finished seventh in the 2004 Rookie of the Year voting and was a fantastic backup to Paul Konerko in 2004 and 2006, posting on-base percentages of .375 and .354, respectively.

Kenny Lofton: White Sox 2002, Cubs 2003
With the Cubs: Was a part of one of Jim Hendry's greatest coups as a GM as he came to Chicago along with Aramis Ramirez from Pittsburgh in a deal that centered around Bobby Hill. His .381 OBP was huge for the Cubs during their NLCS run.
With the White Sox: Played a solid 96 games before he was sent to San Francisco before the trade deadline.

Josh Paul: White Sox 1999-2003, Cubs 2003
With the Cubs: Signed on July 4 after being released by the White Sox, the Buffalo Grove native went hitless in seven plate appearances.
With the White Sox: Before Doug Eddings ruled he didn't catch Kelvim Escobar's offering in the 2005 ALCS, Paul was a fairly dependable backup for the Sox in 2001 and 2002.

Tom Gordon: Cubs 2001-2002, White Sox 2003
With the Cubs: Was effective when healthy, saved 27 games in 2001. Was traded to Houston before the deadline in 2002.
With the White Sox: After Billy Koch tanked, Gordon helped hold the Sox bullpen together, saving 12 games with a 3.16 ERA.

Jason Bere: White Sox 1993-1998, Cubs 2001-2002
With the Cubs: Pitched his last full season in the majors in 2001, starting 32 games with a 4.31 ERA.
With the White Sox: As a rookie, started 24 games with a 3.47 ERA for the Western Division champs, then followed that up with a 3.81 ERA in 24 starts the next year. Completely fell off in 1995, then ran into elbow problems before joining Cincinnati in 1998.

Robert Machado: White Sox 1996-1998, Cubs 2001-2002
With the Cubs: Appeared in 74 games while backing up Todd Hundley and Joe Girardi.
With the White Sox: Spent most of his time with the Sox in 1998 after joining the big-league club in late July.

Darren Lewis: White Sox 1996-1997, Cubs 2002
With the Cubs: Finished out his 13-year career by serving in a backup role, still managed to post a .326 OBP in 58 games.
With the White Sox: Was decent for a back-of-the-lineup hitter in 1996; traded to Los Angeles in 1997 for Chad Fonville.

Matt Karchner: White Sox 1995-1998, Cubs 1998-2000
With the Cubs: Wasn't worth trading Jon Garland.
With the White Sox: Was worth trading for Jon Garland.

Larry Casian: Cubs 1995-1997, White Sox 1998
With the Cubs: Was extremely successful in limited time in 1995 and 1996, struggled in 1997 and was claimed off waivers by the Royals.
With the White Sox: Appeared in four games, throwing four innings and giving up five runs to close out his career.

Ben Zobrist breaks down how Dodgers pitching has made Cubs offense disappear

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USA TODAY

Ben Zobrist breaks down how Dodgers pitching has made Cubs offense disappear

Ben Zobrist didn’t look for any deeper meaning in Kyle Schwarber’s first-inning homer off Yu Darvish on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, or hope that one swing could change the entire momentum of this National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Zobrist knows what it takes to win in October, the Cubs identifying him as the missing piece to their lineup after he helped transform the 2015 Kansas City Royals into a championship team, and then getting a World Series MVP return on their $56 million investment.

That “Schwarbomb” turned out to be fool’s gold, the only run the Cubs would score in front of a quiet, low-energy crowd of 41,871, the defending champs one more loss away from golfing/hunting/fishing/signing autographs at memorabilia shows.

“That was great to get a homer, but I’d rather see some hits strung together,” Zobrist said after a sloppy 6-1 loss, standing at his locker for almost 10 minutes, answering questions in the underground clubhouse. “I’d like to see a couple doubles together, a few singles, three or four hits in an inning. We just haven’t done that.

“That’s what makes rallies. They’ve stayed away from those kinds of innings. That’s why they’re ahead right now.”

Darvish – Jake Arrieta’s replacement in the 2018 rotation? – canceled out the two singles he allowed in the first inning by getting two of his seven strikeouts and answering some of the questions about how he would respond to all the pressure in October.

Darvish – a trade-deadline acquisition that had echoes of Theo Epstein’s “If not now, when?” explanation for last year’s Aroldis Chapman trade – walked one of the 25 batters he faced and pitched into the seventh inning before handing the game over to a lights-out bullpen.

“There’s nothing that we didn’t see beforehand on video,” Zobrist said. “It’s just a matter of we need him to make more mistakes, and we got to take advantage of those mistakes when he makes them.

“When he got to 3-2 counts, he wasn’t throwing a heater. He was throwing the cutter, and it’s a tough pitch to hit. You have to sit on it, and even then it’s got good movement to it. He kept us off-balance.”

Forward-thinking manager Dave Roberts is at the controls of a Los Angeles bullpen that can match up against right- and left-handed hitters, target locations, unleash upper-90s velocity, execute the elevated fastball that messes with eye levels and lean on All-Star closer Kenley Jansen for multiple innings.

The Dodger relievers essentially put together a no-hitter that lasted nine-plus innings across Games 1, 2 and 3. Together, they have pitched 10.2 scoreless innings, facing 36 batters and allowing two hits and a walk and hitting Anthony Rizzo with a pitch.

“They kept the ball on the edges and kept us off-balance,” Zobrist said. “They’re not throwing the pitch in the middle of the plate when we need them to. They’re keeping it on the edges and those are hard (to hit). When you got guys with good stuff on the mound, you need them to make some mistakes for you, or at least start walking some guys.

“When they’ve gotten in those situations with a three-ball count, they’re still making the pitch when they need to. They’re not walking many guys – and we are.

“That’s why they’re up 3-nothing.”

Zobrist (4-for-23 this postseason) is now more of a part-time player/defensive replacement, no longer the switch-hitting force who dropped the bunt at Dodger Stadium that helped end the 21-inning scoreless streak during last year’s NLCS.

Zobrist insisted the Cubs are still all there mentally, not checked out after a grueling first round against the Washington Nationals and a brutal walk-off loss in Game 2 at Dodger Stadium. He owns two World Series rings and one has the Cubs logo and this inscription: “We Never Quit.”

“We keep it loose all the time,” Zobrist said. “We know what’s at stake. And we don’t shy away from it. We look forward to the challenge ahead. It would be a great story for us to be able to come back in this series and win this series.

“We make adjustments, we take advantage of mistakes and we come out with a victory tomorrow. That’s what we have to do.”

Winter is coming for Cubs team that looks checked out of 2017

Winter is coming for Cubs team that looks checked out of 2017

Kyle Schwarber took a Babe Ruth swing on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, posed for a moment and dropped the bat out of his follow through, watching that Yu Darvish pitch soar 408 feet out toward the left-center field bleachers.

Those carefree Cubs relievers shown on the video board – wait, was that John Lackey bouncing around? – danced in the bullpen in the first inning. This is exactly what the Cubs wanted: Grab an early lead? Check. Get one of their big boys going? Check. Energize the crowd of 41,871? Check.

That sense of momentum lasted less than the time it takes to buy a beer or go to the bathroom at Wrigley Field, because the Los Angeles Dodgers look like the unstoppable force this October.

Now Wade Davis may never pitch in this National League Championship Series and Wednesday night could be Jake Arrieta’s final start in a Cubs uniform. Winter is coming after a 6-1 loss left the defending World Series champs looking mentally checked out of 2017.

The Cubs played AC/DC and Motley Crue in their underground clubhouse and answered questions about why they believe they can match the 2004 Boston Red Sox who took down the New York Yankee Evil Empire, becoming the only team to come back from an 0-3 deficit since the LCS expanded to a seven-game format in 1985.

But Kris Bryant’s glassy look and bloodshot eyes told a different story, the reigning NL MVP admitting how “draining” those five games felt against the Washington Nationals in Round 1.

“But you kind of expect that around this time when games mean a lot,” Bryant said. “It takes a lot of energy to get ready for these games, and at the end, you feel wiped out. It’s expected.”

But no one could have predicted this lack of buzz in Wrigleyville, which felt less than a lot of midweek games during the regular season. A silence fell over the old ballpark when Andre Ethier – who has three homers across the last two seasons combined – lined a Kyle Hendricks pitch off the video board in right field to lead off the second inning.

Hendricks – who has made 10 postseason starts across the last three years and kept the Dodgers completely off-balance last October on the night the Cubs clinched their first NL pennant in 71 years – watched in the third inning as Chris Taylor crushed another home-run ball that bounced off the roof of the batter’s eye in center field.

“I wouldn’t say we’re running out of gas,” shortstop Addison Russell said. “Every time we step on the field, I feel like we have a pretty good chance of winning. We’re going to come into the clubhouse tomorrow positive and just ready to strap it on.”

The Dodgers will be out for beer and champagne on Wednesday night and the chance to kick back and watch the Yankees and Houston Astros expend all their energy in the ALCS.

Dodger manager Dave Roberts – who pushed all the right bullpen buttons in Games 1 and 2 (eight no-hit/scoreless innings combined) – toyed with the Cubs by letting Darvish hit against struggling reliever Carl Edwards Jr. with a two-run lead and two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning.

Darvish showed bunt on all four pitches – and drew a four-pitch walk and slammed his bat to the ground in celebration. The fans booed after Edwards struck out Taylor on three pitches to end the inning.

“We were there just as much as any other game,” said Ben Zobrist, last year’s World Series MVP. “Mentally, there was no letdown. Physically, there was no letdown. It was just a matter of them capitalizing on some mistakes that we made. That’s part of the game. And they didn’t make a lot of mistakes.

“They played better baseball than us tonight. That’s why they got the W.”

The Cubs committed two errors in Game 3 and then had a National-style meltdown in the eighth inning, from Zobrist misjudging the flyball to right field that dropped in front of him, to Mike Montgomery throwing a wild pitch, to catcher Willson Contreras getting crossed up on a swinging strike three, his glove nowhere near Montgomery’s 92.7-mph fastball, which crashed into his right arm and ricocheted into the visiting dugout.

A three-run game became 6-1 – and head for the exits and then the offseason. There was Albert Almora Jr. in the ninth inning, driving a ball into the ivy in left field and sprinting right into lead runner Alex Avila at third base, bailed out only because Kike Hernandez waved his hand to signal a ground-rule double.

At least that made All-Star closer Kenley Jansen work the last three outs, accumulated stress that might benefit the Yankees or Astros more than the Cubs.

“They are done,” an NL scout wrote in a text message. “You can see it in their faces.”