The Windy City has two teams going in opposite directions heading into the series finale.
Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox
The Chicago Cubs fell 3-2 to their crosstown rivals on Saturday afternoon, but things remained positive in the clubhouse afterwards. “Today was a little different,” starting pitcher Carlos Silva said. “Today I saw a team out there.” Manager Lou Piniella’s squad held a pregame meeting before the game, allowing the manager and players to move forward following pitcher Carlos Zambrano’s suspension. Yesterday’s defeat was the 39th game of the season decided by two or fewer runs, including the 28th one-run game (11-17). Today is the final game of a 15-game stretch against the American League (5-9) with the team’s designated hitter managing to hit just .100 on the road in interleague play. The Cubs are batting .193 and scoring 1.2 runs per game while dropping four of their last five games. Despite the downtrodden season, Piniella’s club has only been swept once in a three-game series.
Cubs SP Ryan Dempster is 5-6 with a 3.56 ERA in 15 starts this season (-920), allowing just 84 hits in 103.2 innings of work. The right-hander brings a 2-3 road mark and 3.54 ERA in eight road starts this season (-520). He picked up the loss in his last outing away from Wrigley Field, allowing just two runs and five hits over eight innings of work in a 2-0 defeat to the Seattle Mariners. Dempster has struggled in eight daytime starts, going 1-4 with a 4.83 ERA compared to a 4-2 record and 2.17 ERA in seven nighttime outings. He is 1-4 with a 5.09 ERA in 12 games (five starts) against the South Siders (-410). In three starts last season, he went 0-2 with a 4.00 ERA.
The Chicago White Sox are now trailing the Minnesota Twins by 1.5 games, as they continue to ride an 11-game winning streak. “If you would have told me before the season the standings would be exactly how they are right now, I would have told you that makes sense,” first baseman Paul Konerko said. The offense is averaging 4.6 runs during the streak and the pitching staff has gone 8-0 with a 2.16 ERA. The White Sox are an amazing 15-2 in interleague play this season (+1,420) and a dominating 39-14 over the last three years (+2,640). The club owns a 41-36 all-time edge against the Cubs.
White Sox SP John Danks is 7-5 with a 3.23 ERA in 14 starts this season (+50), surrendering just six home runs in 92 innings. The left-hander comes into this outing with a three-game winning streak, allowing five runs and 11 hits over 22 innings of work. Danks has flourished in interleague play, posting a 5-1 record and 1.93 ERA in his last six interleague starts. He is also a perfect 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in three career outings in the crosstown series (+130). In making only four daytime starts this season, he has notched a 2-1 record and 2.33 ERA, allowing just a single home run in 27 frames.
Bettors will take notice of the Cubs 8-20-3 O/U mark when the total is 8 to 8.5, with that mark being 7-11 O/U when on the road. The White Sox are a confident 9-2 after three or more consecutive wins (+810), but the total is 1-10 O/U in those contests.