Cubs, White Sox Advance to Playoffs Following No-Hitters

Written by Ryan Bennett, Sports Editor

Cubs, White Sox Advance to Playoffs Following No-Hitters

By Ryan Bennett, Sports Editor

 

2020 has been an interesting year when it comes to major league sports. Games are being played without fans, and players are being tested for COVID-19 daily. The 2020 MLB season that was supposed to begin in April got pushed back to the end of July to be played in a shortened 60-game season. But in all the madness, both Chicago teams have made it to the playoffs. The two have also been the only teams in all of baseball to have a pitcher throw a no-hitter—Alec Mills of the Cubs and Lucas Giolito of the White Sox.

Mills’ no-hitter came on September 13 against the Milwaukee Brewers in a 12-0 Cubs win. His performance was not overly dominant, as he struck out only five hitters and walked three, but he held the Brewers’ lineup at bay and accomplished a feat that only a small number of pitchers can say they’ve done. 

Mills’ story is especially impressive, as he was a college walk-on, was picked in the 22nd round of the draft, and underwent reconstructive elbow surgery. The Cubs saw something in the 28-year-old, though, trading for him in 2017. He finally got his shot to be in the starting rotation in 2020 and has made the most of it so far. 

Mills said after the game, “I’m just proud to be that person that can tell you to never give up. Never stop playing. Never let people tell you what you can and can’t do and just keep persevering and be the best person you can be.”

The Cubs have been in first place in the NL Central for the whole season, despite some of their top players not performing well. Three of their best players, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Báez, are all hitting under .230. If some of their key position players get hot at the right time and the starting pitching continues its dominance, this team can make a run in the Postseason. They’re set to face the Miami Marlins in the first round.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the White Sox are scuffling as they enter the playoffs, but the season as a whole has largely been a success for them. They became the first team in baseball this season to have a pitcher throw a no-hitter, which happened back on August 25, when Lucas Giolito threw his first career no-hitter.

Giolito was acquired from the Nationals in a 2016 trade. He had always been touted as a top prospect, but struggled early on during his time in the majors. The 26-year old righty finally started to put it all together in the 2019 season, finishing with a 3.41 ERA and 228 strikeouts. 

Giolito dominated a light-hitting Pirates lineup for his no-hitter, walking just one and striking out a whopping 13 batters. “I’ve been working for this type of game for a while now and it’s really cool that we got it done,” Giolito said following the game.

The White Sox are in the midst of a breakout season, and have clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2008. Their offense is led by budding stars Tim Anderson and Eloy Jimenez, with veteran Jose Abreu having an MVP-type season. The White Sox’ overall inexperience in the playoffs and young roster could lead to a possible early exit, but they have the potential to make a World Series run if everything goes right, and are likely to be a powerful force in the AL central for years to come. They will take on the Oakland Athletics in round one.

Overall, it’s a good time to be a fan of baseball in the city of Chicago right now, no matter which team you root for. Both of these teams are very talented and have shown that they have what it takes to win it all. Who knows, maybe we’ll even see a meeting in the World Series between these two teams for the first time since 1906.

Sources: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/09/13/sports/baseball/cubs-alec-mills-no-hitter.amp.html

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/08/26/sports/baseball/lucas-giolito-no-hitter-white-sox.amp.html