Moncada set for first taste of Sox-Cubs rivalry

July 23rd, 2017

KANSAS CITY -- Knowledge possessed by concerning the Cubs-White Sox rivalry seems to be fairly limited.

The information possessed by the White Sox second baseman, making his series debut on Monday, also sounds to be spot-on accurate.

"I've heard a few words: Nothing in specific. Like of course the White Sox fans don't like the Cubs fans and vice versa," Moncada said through interpreter Billy Russo. "It's a very intense rivalry. Nothing else.

"I would like to experience that intensity of the rivalry. I'm sure we are going to go there and we are going to beat them. I want to help this team to beat them."

Moncada's confidence is admirable and certainly could play out during the four-game set, with two day contests at Wrigley Field to begin the week followed by two more at night to conclude the series at Guaranteed Rate Field. But the teams are moving in different directions.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn began a rebuild for his club last season, amassing 10 of the Top 67 prospects as ranked by The Cubs remain in win-now mode, doing whatever possible in pursuit of their second straight World Series title.

Those goals created a high-impact trade between the clubs, with moving to the Cubs and outfielder Eloy Jimenez and pitcher Dylan Cease leading the four-player prospect package in return. Quintana was scheduled for a Sunday night start against the Cardinals, so unlike Chris Sale with the Red Sox at the end of May, he will not be able to face his friends and former teammates in this series.

Even the absence of that highlight doesn't take away from the rivalry's intensity.

"Those games are very energetic and exciting," White Sox left fielder said through Russo. "I think that's one of the biggest rivalries in the game."

Anderson sits again

Shortstop wasn't in the starting lineup for a second straight day against the Royals, although White Sox manager Rick Renteria mentioned Anderson was available to pinch-hit or pinch-run.

"He's in as good a place as he can be right now," Renteria said. "Maybe these two days are going to be good for him."

Renteria wants players to execute

The decision to have Moncada bunt with runners on first and second and none out in the sixth inning of Saturday night's 7-2 loss to the Royals was not met with high approval across social media. But Renteria believes the bunt not only can be part of Moncada's arsenal, but other players as well.

"I see a whole lot of home run hitters dropping bunts right now against shifts and things of that nature. I don't think that art should disappear," Renteria said. "We're in the era of quote-unquote the long ball, but like I've said, sometimes you need to do certain things to kind of put your club in a better position.

"Our guys are very cognizant of just playing the game. If they feel like they want to get two guys in scoring position on their own, they do it. It's not something I want to take away from them. They read the defenses. Sometimes we talk about other ways of dealing with the defenses, but I think they're understanding that we're going to want that to be a part of all their abilities."