In the past, these rivals played separate three-game sets in their parks that captivated the Windy City, but as part of the “prime rivals” portion of interleague play, all four of the teams’ 2013 matchups take place this week beginning Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox (24-24) have won four of six in each of the four previous seasons against the Cubs, but three victories will be enough to capture bragging rights this time. The first two games are on the South Side before contests Wednesday and Thursday at Wrigley Field.
“It’s nice that we’ve got four days that we’re going to be at home but as far as two and two, that’s just the way the schedule is,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum echoed a similar theme.
“It’s such a strange circumstance to play four games in, obviously, the same city but in two different parks,” Sveum told the Cubs’ official website. “There’s no other way to do it now, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But it’s kind of funny how it comes that way with the crosstown rivals.”
The White Sox are probably more excited about this week, having won nine of 12 to reach .500 for the first time since April 10.
“They’re fun games, I think the fans enjoy them, it’s great for the city so we’re looking forward to it,” Ventura said.
The Cubs (19-30) return to Chicago on a positive note after ending a season-high six-game slide with a 5-4, 10-inning victory over Cincinnati on Sunday. Alfonso Soriano hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth inning and Welington Castillo had a go-ahead double in the 10th as the Cubs rallied from a 4-0 deficit after six.
Soriano has been productive as a visitor in this rivalry, hitting .316 with five homers to help the Cubs win eight of their last 15 at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox’s Adam Dunn by contrast, is 4 for 35 with two solo homers and 17 strikeouts in his 11 games in this series, although he’s still looking forward to it.
“I think it’s fun for everyone,” Dunn said. “It’s fun for the fans, but it’s a lot of fun for us. I know that the stadium will have electricity and it will be pretty much of a playoff atmosphere.”
The Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija (2-6, 3.25 ERA) has gone 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in three career interleague starts, including a 3-2 loss to the White Sox on May 18, 2012 in which he gave up three runs in 7 1-3 innings. The right-hander has posted a 4.40 ERA and received seven runs of support in losing his last five road outings.
The Cubs are 4-10 against left-handed starters as they face Jose Quintana (3-1, 3.48) for the first time. Quintana pitched 6 1-3 scoreless innings to earn a 3-1 home victory over Boston on Tuesday.
Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo will take part in this rivalry for the first time. Rizzo went 4 for 8 in his last two games and leads the club with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs.