As a nation, we gratefully welcomed back Major League Baseball this past weekend, though it is kind of weird right now.
Still, the games were fun to see, and pretty energetic despite the lack of living, breathing, non-computer generated fans.
In Chicago, the young and (finally) promising White Sox provided a bit of pop in each of its first two games but only one win as the team struggled for an upper-hand on the mound against a strong Minnesota club. Meanwhile, the Cubs won, lost and won again with two strong pitching performances supplying the base for an impressive series against rival Milwaukee.
Here, we’ll hold off on complete “buy” or “sell” decisions on the baseball teams given that its so early, but next week we’ll go in. As of now, we’ll say buy individual stock in winning pitchers Tyler Chatwood and Kyle Hendricks on the North Side along with Ian Happ and Wilson Contreras, who powered the North Siders in their 9-1 smacking of the Brewers on Sunday.
Out South, Luis Robert is looking like a good buy after hitting his first career home run Sunday in the South Siders’ 14-2 loss to the Twins, providing a rare highlight outside of the Sox’s 10-3 win Saturday, which was helped much by Dallas Keuchel in his Sox debut. The new Sox hurler is a definite buy as well as is James McCann (3-for-4, 2 RBI) and Leury Garcia (3-for-4, 4 RBI), who powered the win.
Again, because baseball is just returning we’re keeping things positive and not going into “sells” yet, but pitchers on both the North Side (Yu Darvish) and South Side (Ronaldo Lopez) better watch themselves.
As we look elsewhere on the Chicago sports scene, definite buys go to the Chicago Sky, who got a big opening win in the “Wubble” in Florida that’s containing the WNBA for its condensed 2020 season.
Avenging its heart-breaking 2019 playoff loss to Las Vegas was a nice first-step for a team that should feel it could contend in a season where there’s a lot being left to chance and defending league champions Washington D.C. will be without the services of WNBA MVP Elena Della Donne for the entire run.
Plus, Allie Quigley is one of the deadliest shooters in basketball, how can you not buy what she did to frankly allow the Sky to steal Sunday’s game against the Aces? Also, a big buy for Gabby Williams, who had no jitters or rust in her 2020 debut, taking command of a lot of the Sky’s offense and keeping them in contention against the talented Aces frontcourt.
Women’s sports is winning overall in Chicago right now and a big part of that is the National Women Soccer League’s Red Stars, who Sunday played for a second straight year in the final game of that league’s season, making it to the final game of the NWSL’s season for the second year in a row.
Though they didn’t take a title home, losing 2-0 to the Houston Dash in the Challenge Cup championship game, the Red Stars have established themselves as one of the city’s most winning-est teams right now, their consistency should be respected.
On the men’s soccer side, unfortunately you can’t help but sell the Fire, who were eliminated from the “MLS is Back” tournament this past week, losing out to Vancouver by two goals on Thursday, the only result that would have eliminated the team from competing in the MLS’ Round of 16.
It could be months before anyone sees the Fire again and who knows when they’ll be seen actually playing in Chicago, this after the team’s much publicized move back to Soldier Field earlier this year. Of course, the Fire can’t help that aspect of their near future in the era of Covid-19, but had they made a more Red Star-like run in their tourney, there would have been a lot more to look forward to as they and the MLS go back into the unknown.
We’ll be back with more next week, including a first look at the Blackhawks and a look at Chicago’s World TeamTennis team, the Smash, who will compete in the WTT playoffs this week.
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