Tony Gwynn: Chicago Cubs are legit
Scott Podsednik is breathing easier after this weekend.
Podsednik had his first multihit game of the season on Sunday despite only half a game being played in a 6-4 rain-shortened win over the Toronto Blue Jays. He tripled and singled, scoring two runs, and also stole his first base of the season in a game that was stopped after the top of the fifth inning.
A big reason Chicago won a championship last year was Podsednik’s production at the top of the lineup as he hit .290, stole 59 bases and scored 80 runs.
Before the weekend series with the Blue Jays, Podsednik was batting .059 this season with two hits in 34 at-bats, leading manager Ozzie Guillen to sit him in the opener on Friday. He had a hit in Saturday’s 4-2 win before having the type of game Sunday that Chicago expects to see from its leadoff hitter.
Podsednik feels he’s starting to get his rhythm back after being bothered by a sore left shoulder and a strained left groin earlier this season.
“I felt pretty good the last three to four nights, but I haven’t put anything together,” he said. “I got results today. Hopefully this is the start of something.”
He had 23 hits and six stolen bases in 17 games against the Royals last season, but was 1-for-9 in two games at Kansas City this year.
The White Sox (7-5) have won six of seven and are looking to avenge a series loss—they dropped two of three games—to the Royals from April 7-9.
Chicago can expect to get off to a good start in the rematch with Jose Contreras going to the mound.
The Cuban right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.23 ERA in seven starts against the Royals, and he’s off to a strong start this season. He’s 1-0 in two outings, allowing a total of three runs and 12 hits over 14 innings.
The White Sox, however, are the only team Kansas City (2-9) has defeated this season, going 0-8 against its other opponents.
The Royals are looking for their first road win and have lost seven straight overall, including Sunday’s 9-5 defeat to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
“The way I would expect them to handle it is exactly the way they’re handling it,” Royals general manager Allard Baird said. “They’re not making excuses for themselves, with the injuries they’ve had. They still expect to win every day and when they don’t win, they’re not happy about it. That’s the way it should be.”
Joe Mays will try to end Kansas City’s slide when he makes his third start of the season after lasting a combined seven innings in the first two. Mays went 2 2-3 innings against the New York Yankees last Tuesday, giving up four runs, eight hits and five walks in a 9-7 loss.
He avoided taking the loss in that game, though his ERA rose to 12.86.
Mays, an offseason acquisition from Minnesota, went 0-2 with a 12.46 ERA last season as a starter against Chicago.
He has struggled against Jim Thome, the White Sox’s hottest hitter. Thome is batting .381 (8-for-21) with three home runs and seven RBIs against Mays.
Chicago’s designated hitter tied his season total for home runs in 2005 on Sunday when he hit his seventh of the year. He has scored at least one run in all 11 of Chicago’s games—the longest streak to open the season by a major leaguer since former White Sox slugger Frank Thomas did it in his first 14 games in 1994.