CHICAGO – The last time a pitch was thrown by or to a baseball team in Chicago was March 11th, the day before baseball was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That will finally change on Sunday night, with both teams taking the field together.
True, the game between the Cubs and the White Sox won’t count in the standings, since it’s just one of three exhibition games for the teams before the shortened 60-game season begins on Friday. But it’s still something other than an intrasquad scrimmage for the team and fans to look forward to.
Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Opening Day starter against the Brewers this Friday, gets the nod for the exhibition game but he won’t have to hit. Remember, this year both the National and American League teams will both have the designated hitter.
Northbrook native Jason Kipnis, who was added to the major league roster officially on Friday, will have that honor and hits second behind Kris Bryant. Kyle Schwarber will get his chance at that spot this season, but he’ll start in left and bat fourth in David Ross’ lineup.
It’s a big night for him considering that all the Cubs have done the past three weeks is face each other, so a change is something very welcome.
“As soon as you bring in another team and you’re able to not compete against each other but go against someone else and go to battle its gonna be a good time,” said Schwarber. “It’s gonna be fun.”
For the White Sox, there is an incredible anticipation for what’s ahead the next two months, since the team has aspirations to snap a 12-year playoff drought. A healthy amount of the probable opening day lineup is in place, though Yoan Moncada remains out after returning to the team after a bout with COVID-19.
Drew Anderson takes the mount for Rick Renteria’s team
“I think everyone’s looking forward to tonight’s game. We’ve been playing against each other; Everyone’s been playing against each other,” said Renteria. “Today’s a nice change. We get start getting a feel of what it’s going to be like here in the regular season. Obviously, it’s unique for everyone but I’m sure that everyones trying to do the best they can to pull it off.”
The first step to doing that is Sunday night.