Chicago (30-34) at Chicago (30-30)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 79° F
  • Game info: 2:20 pm EDT Wed Jun 17, 2009
  • TV: WGN, CSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox were leading their divisions when they met for the first time last season, prompting talk of a Windy City World Series.

No such buzz will surround the crosstown rivals as they meet for the first time this year.

In the midst of disappointing seasons, the Cubs and White Sox look to build off dramatic victories when they again try to open this series Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Rain forced Tuesday’s opener to be postponed 10 minutes after it was supposed to start. No makeup date has been set and it’s unlikely a doubleheader will be played Thursday when a day game is also scheduled.

The Cubs (30-30) won their second straight NL Central title in 2008, but a sputtering lineup has them steeped in mediocrity. After leading the league in runs (855) and on-base percentage (.354) last season, the Cubs are near the bottom of the NL this year with 253 runs and a .324 OBP. That led to the firing of hitting coach Gerald Perry on Sunday.

The White Sox (30-34) haven’t been much better offensively.

The defending AL Central champions are chasing Detroit and Minnesota in the division and are among the AL’s worst hitting teams with a .251 average.

“It might be the battle of who’s the worst in town,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.

The White Sox, though, may be on the verge of turning things around.

A.J. Pierzynski(notes) singled with two outs in the ninth inning Sunday to lift the White Sox to a 5-4 win at Milwaukee for their third victory in four games after dropping eight of 10.

The Cubs are coming off an exciting finish of their own.

In Sunday’s 3-2 win over Minnesota, Ryan Theriot(notes) drove in Derrek Lee(notes) with a bases-loaded single in the ninth to snap a four-game skid.

“It was good to see our guys bunch together three hits in the ninth,” manger Lou Piniella told the Cubs’ official Web site. “Hopefully, these things are all harbingers of things to come.

“We look forward to playing our crosstown neighbors, we really do. We’re at .500, so we want to extricate ourselves from the .500 mark. It’s a big series for both teams.”

Since interleague play began in 1997, the crosstown series is tied at 33.

Last year, the Cubs won the three games at Wrigley, while the White Sox took three on the South Side.

Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano(notes) was scheduled to take the ball Tuesday, but will be pushed back to face Gavin Floyd(notes) on Thursday. Ryan Dempster(notes) (4-3, 3.87 ERA) will make his scheduled start in this contest.

Dempster allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings of a 2-1, 13-inning loss at Houston on Thursday. That was his only earned run allowed in 20 innings over his last three starts.

The right-hander is 1-1 with a 7.84 ERA in two starts - both last season - against the White Sox.

The White Sox will counter with John Danks(notes) (4-5, 4.81), who’s coming off his best performance in weeks.

Danks allowed two runs and struck out seven in a season-high 7 1-3 innings Wednesday, but lost 2-1 to Detroit. The left-hander had a 7.02 ERA over his previous eight starts, third-highest in the majors since April 28.

In his only start against the Cubs, Danks didn’t get a decision after yielding one run and five hits in six innings of a 4-3 loss June 20 at Wrigley.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Danks CWS vs. R. Dempster ChC
13-11 Record 11-9
3.77 ERA 3.65
149 K 172
73 BB 65
1.28 WHIP 1.31


Wednesday, Jun 17