Sox's Progress Creates More Crosstown Intrigue

"It's a great challenge for us," Rick Renteria says of facing the Cubs.

Bruce Levine
June 18, 2019 - 8:00 am
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(670 The Score) For both sides, meaningful baseball will be played when the Cubs host the White Sox in a two-game series Tuesday and Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

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As they have been for the past four seasons, the Cubs are serious contenders to win the National League Central. While the White Sox dipped back under .500 at 34-36 in losing their last two to the Yankees, their arrow is pointing up. There's been a renewed passion to their rebuild in 2019, with young building blocks making significant progress and a swagger returning to the South Side.

The White Sox showcased some of that in defeating the Yankees last Thursday and Friday at a Guaranteed Rate Field that was packed all weekend. They'll look to rise to the occasion in the same way against the Cubs, who are 39-32 are a half-game back of the Brewers in the division.

"We look forward to going in there and competing against another major league club in our city," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "It's a great rivalry. It's a great challenge for us. We look forward to going over there and trying to do well, just like we try to do well against every club we compete against."

Renteria is using a similar approach with the White Sox as he did in managing the Cubs in 2014, when he helped their young players take quality strides before being fired to pave the way for Joe Maddon. The hope for the White Sox is that the likes of Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez and Lucas Giolito find the consistency and star power of the Cubs' Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Hendricks.

Renteria was appreciative of that experience with the Cubs and glad it led to him landing with the White Sox.

"I am a South Sider," Renteria said Sunday. "I'm a White Sox. Period. Exclamation point. Triple, four times."

The Cubs haven't placed on any weight on the matchup against the White Sox. Bryant indicated last week he wasn't even aware the White Sox were looming on the schedule, and the Cubs are simply in need of some wins after an ugly 2-5 road trip out west.

"I am coming home and playing every game one game at a time," catcher Willson Contreras told the Tribune. "I am not too focused on whether there is a rivalry or not. We are a good team, and we know they are getting a lot better. I just want to take care of business." 

That's the goal of both clubs in a time in which Chicago baseball is in a healthy spot.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.