Rainout may have unique consequences

Rainout may have unique consequences

CHICAGO -- During a chat with MLB.com last week focusing on the intensity of the Cubs-White Sox rivalry, Ken Williams perfectly illustrated how these contests mean a bit more than anything else on the regular-season ledger.

"Unless we get into the playoffs, they are going to be the toughest games we play all year," the White Sox general manager said. "To a large degree, these games help set a tone for us and give us a different level of intensity to play with to go on."

And for the first time in the 13-year history of this particular Interleague series, a game between the North Siders and South Siders could come while both teams are battling through the September push to the playoffs. A split-city doubleheader next weekend, with one game at U.S. Cellular Field and one at Wrigley Field, seems highly unlikely at this point, meaning the makeup date from Tuesday's postponement probably will come on Sept. 3 or Sept. 10.

Those mutual off-days either would extend a tough 10-game road trip to Boston, New York and Minnesota to 11 games for the White Sox on Sept. 3, or give the White Sox an extra game before leaving for a West Coast excursion on Sept. 10. With both Central divisions lacking a clear-cut frontrunner, this game could take on special impact in the 2009 postseason rush.

"That would be fun. I hope that's the situation, and it's not the opposite," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said with a laugh. "Then all of a sudden, that's the closest you're going to get to the playoffs. I hope it's interesting for both ballclubs."

"It would be odd," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "I don't know what they are going to do, but if we come back in September, all we can hope is that it matters."

Konerko pointed out how Tuesday's rainout can be taken as somewhat beneficial, with players always making the most out of an extra day of rest. But he also realizes that you "pay the piper" somewhere later in the season.

In the case of a rescheduled game involving the Cubs and White Sox, it certainly will be more important than the average makeup date.

"I'm sure if we are in contention, there will be extra incentive for the people here to make sure we don't do well in that game," said Konerko with a smile. "But I don't know how much worse it can get.

"Every time we come here, it's about as tough as it can get and about as high intensity as you can get. I guess we will find out if it goes there."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.