The South Siders are the hottest team in baseball and look to finish off a 15-game interleague stretch in style.
Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox
Manager Lou Piniella’s team picked up a 3-2 road victory in 13 innings over the Seattle Mariners, in one of those games that may jumpstart the season. “I’m hoping we’re going to put together a run,” outfielder Marlon Byrd said after the game. The Cubs are now 7-8 during interleague play this year (-110) and are set to play the 13th game of a 15-game stretch against the American League this afternoon. The pitching staff has tallied a 3.69 ERA this month, fifth-best in the National League, but the offense has failed to deliver. Chicago has scored three or fewer runs in 12 games and two or fewer in eight contests this month.
Cubs SP Carlos Zambrano is 3-5 with a 5.10 ERA in 21 appearances (eight starts) this season (-320). The right-hander is set to make his fifth start since returning to the rotation from a brief bullpen stint, with the team alternating wins and losses in those four outings. He is 2-3 with a 6.91 ERA in 10 road outings (five starts) with an inflated 6.91 ERA (-130). Zambrano is an even 2-2 in nine daytime appearances (four starts), carrying a 6.57 ERA (3.90 Night) and opposing hitters are batting .340 against him. He carries a 5-3 record and 4.56 ERA in 13 career games (11 starts) against the South Siders (-40).
The Chicago White Sox have won a season-high nine straight games and 13 of their last 14. The club is a major-league best 13-2 in interleague play this year (+1,220), including nine straight wins. “It came out of nowhere,” first baseman Paul Konerko said. “It’s not going to last forever but you try to ride it out until it ends and get as many wins as you can.” The White Sox are hitting .288 with 72 runs during their 13-1 run, raising their average from .241 to a season-high .250. Don’t expect the team to slow down on Friday afternoon, bringing a 17-8 mark in day games to the table (+1,010).
White Sox SP Jake Peavy is 6-5 with a 5.07 ERA in 14 starts this season (-140), as he looks to regain the form that led to a 3-0 record and 1.35 ERA in three outings for the club in 2009. The former Padres ace is doing just that in June, going 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA in three starts. In those starts, opposing hitters are managing to hit just .185 against him (.276 – April, .258 – May). Peavy is a solid 4-2 with a 2.72 ERA in nine career starts against the Cubs (+320). He is 3-0 with a 2.83 ERA during the day this season, compared to 3-5 with a 6.08 ERA at night.
It’s hard to imagine that the home team cools off in this spot, but the total may offer the best course of action. The Cubs are 1-7 O/U on the road when the total is 9 to 9.5 this year and 0-4 O/U as a road under dog of +125 to +150. The White Sox interleague games are 6-8-1 O/U this season and 19-29 O/U the last three years.