CHICAGO – To make any declarations about a team through the first two months of the season in Major League Baseball often is premature. Only in the shortened 2020 campaign was so much importance put on a team’s performance in such a short amount of time.
But like last season’s 60-game season, both the Cubs and the White Sox are enjoying success, and as a new month dawns each team finds themselves at the top of the standings.
On the south side, the White Sox currently have a 3 1/2 game lead in the American League central division after finishing May with a doubleheader split against the Indians on Memorial Day. Despite losing Luis Robert to a hip injury then dealing with a little controversy on baseball’s “unwritten rules,” the team completed the month 19-10 to maintain their division lead.
In compiling their 33-21 record, the White Sox have built up the second-best run differential in the major leagues, outscoring opponents 267-187 (+80). That includes four wins by three-or-more runs in their last nine games, a stretch in which the club has gone 7-2.
Meanwhile, the Cubs found themselves in first place to finish out May after the Cardinals lost to the Dodgers late Monday night. That came after a memorable Memorial Day win over the Padres when the team hit five home runs, including two from shortstop Javier Baez.
That put the Cubs’ record at 30-23 – a half-game ahead of St. Louis for first in the division – as they finished the month of May with a 19-8 record. It’s their best winning percentage in a full month (.704) since they went 22-6 in August of 2016.
David Ross’ club has gone 12-3 in their last 15 games despite their own collection of injuries, including losing infielder David Bote this weekend due to a separated shoulder.
Of course, take these starts for what they are worth. Four months of regular season baseball remain for each club as they try to extend their postseason streak to two. But at least at the start, the team have put themselves in a good position as the summer begins.