The Windy City is still celebrating a Stanley Cup victory, but the focus shifts to Wrigley Field and the return of interleague play.
Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs
The Chicago White Sox broke through and won back-to-back games against the Tigers, after going 4-20 this season in games following a victory. The lineup has also homered in 13 of its last 14 games and rank third in the American League with 70. The buzz for this series is tempered compared to previous season, mainly due to the poor performance of both teams and the city celebrating a Stanley Cup victory. Manager Ozzie Guillen summed it up in a direct way by saying, “Very bad teams and the Blackhawks.” The White Sox are 2-1 in interleague play thus far in 2010 (+100) and have gone 26-13 over the last three years (+1,320)
White Sox SP Jake Peavy makes his 13th start of the season (-340) and first during interleague play. The right-hander is 1-3 with a 7.03 ERA and a .323 opponents average over his last four starts. Peavy is hoping to turn things around quickly saying, “We’ve underachieved as a team, as a whole organization. I could not have imagined being in this situation at this point in the year with what we came to camp with.” He has compiled a 3-2 record with a 2.74 ERA in nine career starts versus the Cubs (+220), including a 1-2 mark and 3.86 ERA in five outings at Wrigley Field. Peavy is an even 8-8 with a 3.29 ERA over 20 career interleague starts.
The Chicago Cubs’ defense committed three errors leading to a 5-4 extra-innings defeat, which ended up being the second time the team fell in the Brewers final at-bat of the series. “Mistakes finally cost us a game,” manager Lou Piniella said. “That’s the story of this one.” The Cubs completed its nine-game road trip with a 3-6 record and now turn their focus to a nine-game homestand. Chicago suffered through the latest road trip despite playing three teams that were well under .500 for the season. This has been a common theme for the club in 2010, posting a 11-23 record when playing against a team with a losing record (-2,120).
Cubs SP Randy Wells is 3-4 with a 4.86 ERA in 12 starts this season (-100), but is currently dealing with a career-high four game losing streak. He suffered a 6-3 defeat in his last start in Houston, allowing six runs on nine hits and two walks, while lasting just 5.1 innings. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA at home (+80) this season compared to a 2-2 mark and 4.08 ERA in seven road outings (-180). Wells has posted a 2-2 record during six daytime starts despite having a 6.67 ERA, giving up 43 hits in 29.2 frames. After posting a perfect 3-0 record in five April outings, he’s yet to pick up a victory in his seven starts the past two months.
Bettors may have great interest in playing the road underdog in this contest, considering the White Sox may be primed to rattle off a winning streak. The Cubs lost a few heartbreaking games at Miller Park, but a return to Wrigley Field may give the team a shot in the arm. Piniella’s club is 12-4 in their last 16 home games following a road trip of seven or more days.