White Sox

Cubs and White Sox release lineups for Game 1 of Crosstown Classic

Cubs and White Sox release lineups for Game 1 of Crosstown Classic

It's about that time again: the Crosstown Classic.

The Cubs (51-46) and White Sox (38-57) released their lineups ahead of Monday's series opener at Wrigley Field.

Kyle Hendricks (4-3, 4.09 ERA) will square off against Miguel Gonzalez (4-9, 4.89 ERA).

Here's how Joe Maddon's Cubs will line up behind Hendricks, who's back after missing six weeks.

CUBS

1. Jason Heyward - RF
2. Kris Bryant - 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo - 1B
4. Willson Contreras - C
5. Kyle Schwarber - LF
6. Ben Zobrist - 2B
7. Jon Jay - CF
8. Javy Baez - SS
9. Kyle Hendricks - P

On the South Side, Rick Renteria is shuffling things up a little bit, as top prospect Yoan Moncada has moved to the No. 2 spot. Melky Cabrera is also back in the lineup after leaving Sunday's game early.

WHITE SOX

1. Melky Cabrera - LF
2. Yoan Moncada - 2B
3. Jose Abreu - 1B
4. Avisail Garcia - RF
5. Matt Davidson - 3B
6. Tim Anderson - SS
7. Adam Engel - CF
8. Kevan Smith - C
9. Miguel Gonzalez - P

A reminder that Crosstown coverage begins at 12 p.m. with White Sox Pregame Live on CSN and streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports app.

White Sox schedule release: Slow start not an option with brutal first week

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USA Today

White Sox schedule release: Slow start not an option with brutal first week

When the White Sox officially open their long-awaited "competitive window" on July 24 against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field, Opening Day will serve as Opening Day only in the sense that it is the first game of the season. The reality is, in a 60-game season, the game means a whole lot more.

“This is the way I’m approaching it,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Monday. “We got a 60-game schedule. I’m going to assume we already played 102 games and were in first place and we’re trying to hold onto that slot.”

It makes sense. All 30 MLB teams are being given the chance to be in first place in late July with 60 games to go. Who can take advantage the fastest?

The White Sox are certainly being given one heck of an opportunity – or challenge, depending on how you look at it. They will open the abbreviated season at home with a three-game series against the Twins before going on the road for three in Cleveland.

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If you were to picture a normal year in which the White Sox, Twins and Indians were in a three-way tie for first place on July 24 with those six games next up on the schedule, the hype and anxiety would be real. A bad week could cost the White Sox its season.

So consider this a 100-meter dash in which a stumble out of the blocks could end the race early.

RELATED: Full 2020 White Sox schedule

“We’re going to try to proceed that way, obviously without putting anyone in harms way, but it is important for a club to get off to a good start because obviously because the schedule is waning. It’s short,” Renteria said. “So I’m going to approach it that way and put us in a position where we are creative, try to have a good eye on what everyone is doing, and see if we can kind of maintain ourselves throughout the whole schedule.”

If you’re one who claims managers aren’t important, try being a manager in 2020. Typically, a first-place team in late July would have the benefit of having an established lineup, reliable starters and a bullpen the manager knows how to navigate. This year, the White Sox – and every other team – will be starting cold, perhaps even risking injury after just three weeks to ramp up, all while not knowing who might test positive for COVID-19 on any given day.

And simply from a pure baseball standpoint, will a rookie like Luis Robert go though understandable early-season struggles against Major League pitching or will he benefit from bypassing the April/May weather in Chicago and start hot?

"I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to start the season pretty hot and display all my talent,” Robert said Monday. “I will have to adjust as much as I can if I have any trouble."

There are a lot of unknowns, except for the fact that the White Sox will be thrust into a pennant race on Day 1 with six crucial games against the two teams they figure to be competing against in the A.L. Central. Zooming out a bit, their next 10 games include three against the Royals, four against the Brewers and three more against the Indians, meaning 13 of their first 16 games are against realistic contenders.

In other words, a slow start isn’t an option.

From there, the White Sox do have a couple favorable stretches in their schedule, including a 17-day period at home after their Aug. 13 game in Iowa against the Cardinals. But no one will want to be playing catch-up that quickly. Even just a .500 record through the first two weeks could set the White Sox up for a run, but like every other team, they must avoid an early losing streak, especially since they open against the Twins and Indians.

Of course, the goal is to make the final week really count. The White Sox end the season with four in Cleveland before a three-game series at home against the Cubs. If those games matter, well, perhaps this wonky, nightmarish 2020 season can be considered a success after all.

 

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White Sox 2020 schedule: 5 key series during 60-game race for AL Central crown

White Sox 2020 schedule: 5 key series during 60-game race for AL Central crown

The White Sox schedule is here.

Get ready for 60 games of South Side baseball in a mad dash to the postseason. The White Sox have high expectations that they've carried with them from January into spring training and all the way through the months-long layoff due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

With the season squeezed down from the typical six-month marathon to the two-month sprint to October, every game holds twice or thrice as much weight as usual, and some of the players are already predicting a playoff-style atmosphere from Day 1.

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While that situation makes all 60 games important, here are five key series on the White Sox schedule, games against common foes — and one less frequent opponent — that could determine just how close the South Siders are from making their leap out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode.

vs. Twins: July 24, 25 and 26

The most anticipated season of South Side baseball in years will finally begin at the end of the month, and what better opponent than the reigning AL Central champs? The Twins shot to the top of baseball's record books last season, slugging a total of 307 home runs, the most in baseball history. And then they beefed up that lineup even more, adding perennial MVP candidate Josh Donaldson on a free-agent contract. But while the Twins swing some menacing sticks, it will be interesting to see if their starting rotation past ace José Berríos can inspire similar fear in opposing hitters.

The White Sox, should everything go right, could find themselves with a more balanced group. But the highlight of any meeting between the two clubs will be whether the White Sox can match the offensive firepower with their own rebuilt lineup. The additions of Yasmani Grandal, Edwin Encarnación, Nomar Mazara and highly touted prospect Luis Robert combined with an impressive core group of José Abreu, Yoán Moncada, Tim Anderson and Eloy Jiménez could make for an opening-weekend slugfest on the South Side.

If the White Sox are going to make a play for the division title, they'll need to go through the Twins. Fortunately for them, seven of the 10 games they play against the Land of 10,000 Lakers will come at Guaranteed Rate Field. And considering how much everyone's been talking about the importance of a good start in this 60-game sprint to the postseason, the first series of the year will be a big one, indeed.

RELATED: White Sox rookie Luis Robert confident in 'pretty hot' start to his '20 season

vs. Cardinals: Aug. 13, 15 and 16

The showcase event of the White Sox season was always scheduled to be the Field of Dreams game in Iowa. And though Major League Baseball had to cancel the London series and the All-Star Game, the game to be played in the middle of a cornfield is still on the docket. Instead of the Yankees, though, the White Sox will square off against the Cardinals in Dyersville, Iowa. It should make for an interesting watch on TV, considering the setting, celebrating the baseball movie "Field of Dreams," which came out in 1989 and featured White Sox legend Shoeless Joe Jackson among its characters. And it will provide the White Sox with a chance to show off their rebuilt squad to a national audience.

As for the series itself, the White Sox will play host to the Cardinals on the South Side, after an off day, for two more games. The Redbirds are the reigning NL Central champs and a perennial playoff contender, meaning they should provide the White Sox with a solid measuring stick when it comes to their own playoff aspirations. Plus, whether in the cornfield or back at The Rate, we could see a matchup between two of the best young pitchers in the game: Lucas Giolito and Jack Flaherty, who also happen to be former high school teammates.

vs. Royals: Aug. 28, 29 and 30

While it's difficult to exactly pinpoint any "benefits" certain teams might have over others during this season of unknowns, the White Sox playing a third of their games against the Royals and Tigers seems to be an opportunity for a big one. Obviously, the Twins and the Indians could reap the same rewards. But a combined 20 games against two teams that lost more than 100 games apiece last season is a nice scheduling bonus.

Against the Royals, in particular, the White Sox have a weapon that could prove very effective: Giolito. He's thrived against the Royals during his big league career. In a dozen starts, he owns a 2.75 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 75.1 innings. Last year, when Giolito transformed himself from the pitcher with the worst stats in baseball to an All Star, he made a half dozen starts against the division foes and posted a 3.16 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 37 innings. Who knows how "normal" Rick Renteria's management of his pitching staff will be this season, but if he gets really creative, we could see Giolito deployed against the Royals a bunch. Feasting on the Royals, as well as the rebuilding Tigers, will be essential to the White Sox meeting their high expectations for 2020.

RELATED: Carlos Rodón has something to prove: 'It feels like I'm kind of brand new'

at Indians: Sept. 21, 22, 23 and 24

While the road to the AL Central crown goes through the Twin Cities, this figures to be more than just a two-team race. The White Sox also have to leap over the Indians if they want access to the top of the division standings. And that won't be an easy feat, considering how stacked the Indians' starting rotation is. It might be the best in baseball, with Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, Zach Plesac and other imposing arms behind them. Plus, though the Indians' lineup is undoubtedly top heavy, they still boast a pair of MVP types in Francisco Lindor and José Ramírez on the left side of the infield.

And then there's the White Sox sobering trend of results in Cleveland in recent seasons. Though rebuilding years that ended with 95, 100 and 89 losses featured defeats everywhere, things were particularly tough at Progressive Field, where they lost 18 times the last three seasons. The White Sox have a lot of things to accomplish to get out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. Winning in Cleveland is among them, and with four games there in the penultimate series of the season, there could be a lot on the line.

vs. Cubs: Sept. 25, 26 and 27

The White Sox will see their Crosstown rivals in two separate series this season, the first coming in late August on the North Side. But this one to close out the regular season at The Rate will be, as the kids say, lit. (Do the kids still say that?) Both Chicago teams enter the season with realistic expectations of continuing to play into October, and with 10 percent of their games against each other, it's not outlandish to suggest that this season's Crosstown get togethers could mean more than ever before, the 1906 World Series excluded.

While any White Sox series against the Cubs is enough to get fans excited, the two teams look pretty evenly matched this season, should the starting pitching pan out on both sides of town. Jose Quintana's season is in jeopardy after he sustained an injury while washing dishes, so a rematch with their old mate might not end up in the cards. But certainly White Sox fans will be looking for another "thanks, Cubs" moment from Jiménez. And Dylan Cease could be on the bump in a critical game against the organization that traded him away. All with the playoffs potentially on the line.

So that typical level of excitement that usually accompanies Crosstown matchups? Crank it up to 11 for this season-closing series on the South Side.


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