Weekend Fantasy Preview: Crosstown Showdown

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Truthfully, I should be writing this with all of baseball in mind so that you can set your fantasy rosters as best as possible.

That being said, this is no ordinary weekend.

The Cubs and Sox series, the Crosstown Showdown, the matchup that settles all arguments and evokes more trash talking than any set of days in the year is upon us and I for one cannot wait.

So instead of looking at all of baseball, we're going to focus on the fantasy matchups that will be going on in this weekend's Cubs vs. Sox series.

I'm sure you may have one or two of them on your squad.

Friday

Cubs starter: Ted Lilly (7-5, 4.76 ERA)
Sox starter: John Danks (4-4, 2.90 ERA)

The pitching matchup in the series opener is going to be an interesting one. Danks overall record on the season is deceiving because the Sox always seem to come up short in terms of run support for their young hurler. He likes to speed up the game in the same way fellow Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle does, so if he gets into a comfortable rhythm the Cubs could be in for a long day.

On the other side of the coin, Ted Lilly is capable of being a dominant pitcher himself. He's had a tough go of it so far this season after looking like the ace of the Cubs pitching staff during the postseason run a year ago. Lilly averages a little over five strikeouts a game and against a White Sox lineup that can go ice cold at any given time, he could put up nice numbers today.

The offensive side of the game is a little more interesting and there are a number of players that could break out today. White Sox second baseman Alexei Ramirez could be in for a big game for a number of reasons. The Cubs have never faced the free swinging Cuban and it seems like this kid eats up pitchers like Lilly.

For the Cubbies, I like Geovany Soto. This kid is going to be an All-Star for years to come and he's got the kind of swing and plate approach that may spell disaster for young John Danks.

Saturday

Cubs starter: Jason Marquis (5-3, 4.24 ERA)
Sox starter: Jose Contreras (6-5, 3.24 ERA)

Extremely interesting matchup awaits us on Saturday between Marquis and Contreras. If the split-finger is working for Jose, the Cubs offense will be hitting nothing but grounders and may have a tough time getting it up into the Wrigley jet stream that carries so many routine pop-flies out into the bleachers.

Marquis is tough to get a read on because of his up and down history. Statistically he's always solid right up until the All-Star break, but then falls apart quicker than Cub fans can say Billy Goat. But the crafty vet is more than capable of shutting down the best of offenses on his good days and could catch the Sox off guard. However, with the way the Sox offense looked in the Pirates series this week, I think Marquis should cozy up on your bench because there's a good chance the veteran Sox lineup will touch him up for at least six runs.

The impressive import from Japan Kosuke Fukudome should have a nice day against Contreras. No other hitter in the Cubs lineup is more adept at taking what a pitcher gives him and making it work to his benefit. Jose likes to nibble on the corners and throw his fastball to set up the splitter. But Fukudome won't be fooled and will be a good play.

Joe Crede's bat loves seeing the friendly confines of Wrigley and the matchup against Marquis suits him well. With a quick, short stroke Crede has a great chance to yank a Marquis fastball into the throngs of Cubs fans in the left field bleachers.

Sunday

Cubs starter: Ryan Dempster (8-2, 2.76 ERA)
Sox starter: Javier Vazquez (7-5, 4.13 ERA)

Everyone focuses on Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano; however, Ryan Dempster has clearly been this team's best pitcher this season. Dempster has been filthy at home where he has yet to lose a game so far this season despite pitching in such a hitter-friendly stadium. I don't expect him or Vazquez to decide the fate of this contest. It's going to remain close and will come down to the performances of their bullpens in the later innings.

The man to watch in this game for the Cubs is third baseman Aramis Ramirez. This guy is a Sox killer and more importantly, 7-for-24 with four extra-base hits against starter Javier Vazquez. Ramirez loves the spotlight and don't be surprised to see him put one out on to Waverly in front of a national audience on ESPN Sunday Night baseball.

Carlos Quentin started off on a tear for the Sox this season, but has cooled off in recent weeks. However, he showed signs of life against the Pirates earlier this week and is ready to introduce himself in a big way to the Crosstown Showdown.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on June 20, 2008 12:15 PM.

Thursday’s best and worst of fantasy baseball was the previous entry in this blog.

Sunday's best and worst of fantasy baseball is the next entry in this blog.

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