It was all going so well in April, wasn’t it? I’m referring to the Sox and Cubs, not the spring cleaning that was quickly a failure. I’ll show you what I mean. Let’s take a random date in April, like the 18th (I admit, it’s not random).
On April 18, the first-place White Sox were 6-3 with a two-game lead. The Cubs were 6-4 in a virtual tie for first with the Cardinals. The month ended with the Sox at 8-12, in third place, 3 1/2 games back, and the Cubs at 8-13, in 4th place, 6 1/2 games back.
You don’t need to be a scientist to figure out that to make the postseason, you first have to win games, then win series, take the week and win the month. Each team needs to be better in the months ahead, or all you’ll have is the joy of doing well on my weekly quiz. Do well.
1. In the 2021 season, how many losing months (under .500) did the White Sox have?
2. In April 2022, the Cubs scored 94 runs for the month. Looking at the National League Central, this was . . .
a. More, less or the same as the Reds.
b. More, less or the same as the Pirates.
c. More, less or the same as the Cardinals.
d. More, less or the same as the Brewers.
3. In April 2022, the Sox scored 64 runs for the month. Looking at the American League Central, this was . . .
a. More, less or the same as the Twins.
b. More, less or the same as the Guardians.
c. More, less or the same as the Royals.
d. More, less or the same as the Tigers.
4. In April, Corbin Burnes of the Brewers and Max Scherzer of the Mets each had two games in which they recorded 10-plus strikeouts. Combined, how many 10-plus strikeout games did Cubs and Sox pitchers have? Bonus points if you can name the pitcher(s).
5. Do you remember Anthony Rizzo? You know, the first baseman? He hit nine home runs in April for the Yankees. You know, the team in New York? His homer total was . . .
a. Less than the Tigers.
b. More than the Tigers.
c. The same as the Tigers.
6. This was the first month of a designated hitter in the National League. Last season, the last season of pitchers hitting, NL pitchers hit .109 in April, with the Cubs’ pitchers hitting .073. This April, the NL DHs hit .220. How did the Cubs’ DHs do?
a. They hit for a higher average than the league.
b. They hit for a lower average than the league.
c. They hit for about the same average (within 10 points) as the league.
7. Who had Chicago’s longest hitting streak in April?
a. Frank Schwindel
b. Luis Robert
c. Yasmani Grandal
d. Seiya Suzuki
8. Dylan Cease led all Chicago pitchers in April in strikeouts. Patrick Wisdom led all Chicago batters in April in striking out. Who had more Ks for the month?
a. Dylan Cease
b. Patrick Wisdom
c. Cease and Wisdom had the same amount of whiffs
9. On May 7, 1999, Carlos Lee did something that no other Sox player had ever done before. What was it?
a. Hit four homers in a game.
b. Strike out five times in a game.
c. Homer in his first MLB at-bat.
d. Get hit by four pitches.
1. None. Zippo. Nil. Nada.
2. The Reds scored 66 runs. The Pirates scored 78. The Cardinals scored 82. And the Brewers, like the Cubs, scored 94 runs.
3. The Twins scored 85 runs. The Guardians scored 94. The Royals scored 59. And the Tigers, like the Sox, scored 64 runs.
4. None. Zippo. Nil. Nada. Dylan Cease and Lucas Giolito each had a nine-strikeout game. Marcus Stroman and Kyle Hendricks each had a seven-strikeout game.
5. The Tigers hit eight in the entire month.
6. The Cubs’ DHs hit .162 with one homer and two RBI in 74 at-bats.
7. From April 12 to 20, Frank Schwindel hit in nine straight games, going 10-for-36 for a .278 batting average.
8. They each had 28 strikeouts.
9. In the bottom of the second, on his fifth big-league pitch, Carlos Lee homered in his first MLB at-bat off Tom Candiotti. A first for him and a first for the Sox. While it wasn’t the Cubs’ first time, on May 7, 2010, Starlin Castro also homered in his first at-bat.
Have a great week, and don’t forget to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Twitter @BillyBall. Send me a question, and you can be included in the weekly quiz.