The Hormel call to the pen

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Ring Lardner: Inventor of the phrase city serious.
For the White Sox, the bullpen became a pigpen against the Cubs Monday.

With ace John Danks still suffering from shoulder problems, manager Robin Ventura called on bullpen long man Zach Stewart to start the opener of a three-game grudge match with the Cubs at White Sox Park.

It was a considerable departure from the way Jerry Manuel, in his second go-round in the hotly contested "city serious," set up his rotation months in advance to face the Cubs—and made it work.

Stewart, by contrast, stank it up, and the rest of the bullpen only got worse. The Sox lost, 12-3.

The Sox, who love corporate tie-ins as much as anybody, especially on their radio broadcasts on WSCR AM, could have called it the Hormel Call to the Pen.

With the wind blowing out at Sox Park, making it play more like Wrigley Field than the old, beloved, spacious Comiskey Park, the Cubs hit five home runs. The Sox countered with two, from All-Star also-rans Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, but it wasn't close to being enough.

The Sox do come back with comeback pitcher Jake Peavy against the Cubs on Tuesday, but then they have to fall back on the erratic Gavin Floyd on Wednesday.

The Sox have already clinched retaining the coveted BP (Oil Spill) Crosstown Cup by sweeping the Cubs at Wrigley in a three-game set earlier this year, meaning the Cubs can only tie with a series sweep at Sox Park, but the first-place Sox also have their position atop the American League Central Division to be concerned about, especially since the Cubs helped revive the sleeping Detroit Tigers by losing two of three to them in interleague play.

So maybe the Cubs and Sox can get Hormel to sponsor the "city serious" cup next season, especially with Adam Dunn taking the sombrero with three strikeouts Monday.

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