It’s been a fantastic start for both Windy City teams – Chicago Cubs & Chicago White Sox. Their offensive production couldn’t be anymore different, but when it comes to pitching, both teams, maybe a little bit surprisingly, are among the best in major league baseball.
Even without pitching, the Cubs would have been doing well. Leading the NL central with a 13-5 record, they lead the majors in runs scored and they’re tied for second in getting on base (.352). The White Sox, in comparison, have only 57 runs through 18 games (only one team has less) and their OBP is only .288. Yet they’re 12-6, leading the AL Central, which is packed with good teams this season who seem themselves good enough to contend.
When it comes to pitching, especially starting pitching (double true for the Cubs), both teams lead or are close to that so far. The Cubs have the best WHIP in baseball at 0.99, followed by… the White Sox with 1.01. The Washington Nationals, playing a lot of games against terrible teams, lead the ERA charts, but the Cubs are behind them in the National League with 2.65 and the White Sox are the best in the American League with 2.35.
The Cubs have gotten a terrific start from Jake Arrieta, who is 4-0 to start the season with an 0.87 ERA. His WHIP is 0.68 so far and he’s allowed runs in just one of his four stars, which includes a no hitter through nine innings. The NL Cy Young winner of 2015 doesn’t seem to be slowing down, taking his playoff disappointment as a way to become even better.
But it’s not just Arrieta. The 37-year old John Lackey is 3-1 with a 1.22 WHIP and one terrific performance against the St. Louis Cardinals. Jason Hammel has also been terrific in his three appearances, going 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. He’s not playing a whole lot (never more or less than six innings in his three starts), but he’s giving the Cubs another very reliable starter to lean on.
Two names have stood out for the White Sox so far. Chris Sale and Mat Latos. Sale, an All-Star four years in a row, is 4-0 to start the season with a 1.80 ERA and 0.68 WHIP. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his starts and shut out the Tampa Bay Rays in nine innings (his only complete game of the season). He’s given up only four hits in his last two starts combined. Latos has been doing just as well, with a 0.49 ERA and 0.60 WHIP through three games and 18.1 innings, going 3-0. He’s allowed only six hits so far this season and is proving to be one of the best signings of the offseason, making the most of his one-year, $3 million contract.