CHICAGO – Per usual, the break was quick, and for some, it didn’t really even last that long.
The players on the Cubs and the White Sox that weren’t taking part in the All-Star Game had three full days off before making their way back to the club on Thursday before play resumes on Friday.
As it does, both clubs are in much different situations as they approach the final two-and-a-half months of the regular season.
Despite a number of injuries, the very talented and deep White Sox have forged ahead under manager Tony La Russa, climbing to 19 games over .500 in the first half to grab an eight-game lead in the American League Central division.
At the moment, they have the best record in the American League by percentage points over the Red Sox and the Astros, whom they’ll host for the first time in 2021 this weekend at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Meanwhile, the focus for Cubs’ fans and maybe players is split.
One will be on the club on the field as they face the Diamondbacks for the first of three games in Phoenix on Friday night. Meanwhile, the other focus is on what the team will do with their roster as the July 31st trade deadline approaches.
Already the team has dealt starting outfielder Joc Pederson to the Braves in exchange for minor league first baseman Bryce Ball. He’s one of the many players on the roster who is playing out the final year of their contract, though Pederson had only joined the Cubs this offseason.
Eyes will be on players like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Craig Kimbrel, and Anthony Rizzo as the deadline approaches to see which players the team decides to part ways with to acquire talent to build in the future. It’s a question that will continue this weekend and the final two weeks of the season.
Larry Hawley had more on both teams as the second half begins on WGN News Now. You can watch that report in the video above.