Sosa will likely play on Tuesday, but could miss most of the road trip depending on the status of his eight-game suspension. Sosa’s appeal of the suspension will be held Tuesday in Baltimore.
The Cubs don’t expect an immediate decision on the appeal, which will be heard by Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer.
Sosa, who notched his 2,000th career hit on Sunday, is batting .229 (8-for-35) with one double and no home runs since coming of the disabled list on May 30. He hasn’t hit a home run since May 1.
While Sosa is struggling with his image and his hitting, the Cubs’ starting pitching has been fantastic of late.
Mark Prior struck out 10 in six innings to lead Chicago to an 8-7 win over the Yankees in Sunday’s series finale.
Prior and teammate Kerry Wood combined for 21 strikeouts and four runs allowed in 13 2-3 innings during the Cubs’ two wins against the Yankees this weekend. The matchup was the first between the teams since the 1938 World Series.
“I don’t think anywhere in the country there was this much emotion, this much intensity in three ballgames,” said Prior.
The Cubs hope to stay focused as they begin their road trip against the slumping Orioles.
Baltimore won seven of eight before interleague play began, but has struggled against the National League. The Orioles lost five of six in road series at Houston and St. Louis.
Baltimore had 16 hits, including a home run from Tony Batista, but it wasn’t enough as they suffered an 11-10 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday.
STANDINGS: Cubs - 2nd place, 1 GB, NL Central. Orioles - 4th place, 6 GB, AL East.
CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Shawn Estes (5-5, 5.67 ERA). The left-hander is 2-2 on the road with a gaudy 7.67 ERA in six starts. Estes has been terrible of late, going 0-2 with 12 runs allowed in 11 1-3 innings over his last two outings. Estes was roughed up for five runs—four earned—and eight hits in a 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
ORIOLES PROBABLE STARTER: Pat Hentgen (1-5, 5.25 ERA). The 34-year-old hurler has lost three straight starts, posting a 4.86 ERA over that span. Hentgen went 6 1-3 innings, allowing five runs and seven hits in a 6-4 loss to Houston on Wednesday.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cubs - Corey Patterson, .322 avg., 12 HRs, 46 RBIs, 39 runs and 10 SBs. Orioles - Melvin Mora, .365 avg. and 41 runs; Tony Batista, 10 HRs; Jeff Conine, 44 RBIs; Jerry Hairston, 14 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Cubs - 4-2; Orioles - 1-5.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cubs - 1B Eric Karros is 3-for-6 with three home runs and six RBIs in his career against Hentgen. … INF David Kelton was called up from Triple-A Iowa to replace Hee Seop Choi, who was put on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday. … RHP Joe Borowski, who has 11 saves, has yielded three runs over his last two innings of work. Orioles - RHP Hentgen has a 2-1 record and 4.12 ERA in three career starts versus Chicago. … OF Mora leads the AL with a .365 batting average. … RHP Jorge Julio is tied for fourth in the AL with 14 saves. Julio has blown four saves.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cubs - 16-12 on the road; Orioles - 14-14 at home.
INJURIES: Cubs - 1B Choi (concussion), 15-day DL; LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Dave Veres (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL. Orioles - 2B Hairston (leg), 15-day DL; OF Larry Bigbie (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Rodrigo Lopez (oblique), 15-day DL; LHP Erik Bedard (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Erickson (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Albert Belle (hip), 60-day DL; OF Marty Cordova (elbow), 60-day DL.