The Chicago White Sox likely won't have Paul Konerko back in the lineup for their series finale at Wrigley Field. They might not notice a drop in production if Dayan Viciedo can stay locked in at the plate.
Konerko has been out since being hit near his left eye by a pitch from Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija during Friday's series opener and is not expected to return until Tuesday at the earliest, when the White Sox make the short trip back home to face Minnesota.
The first baseman, batting a team-best .367 with eight homers and 23 RBIs, sported a prominent black eye when he spoke to reporters before Saturday's rematch.
"It's just a matter of getting the swelling down. There's no damage, no fractures, no problems with vision, other than just kind of seeing the swelling when I look out," he told the team's website. "So as soon as we get that out of the way, I'll be good to go."
Viciedo helped make up for Konerko's absence by homering and driving in three runs during a 7-4 victory. The Cuban outfielder is batting .478 (11 for 23) with four homers and 10 RBIs over his last six games.
"He's a pretty confident kid," said designated hitter-first baseman Adam Dunn, who also homered. "He never gets down on himself. He knows what he is capable of doing."
The team's starters have also combined to allow three runs over the team's three consecutive victories. Peavy (4-1, 2.65 ERA) will try to continue that string of strong performances while helping the White Sox (20-21) get back to .500 for the first time since May 2 and match their longest win streak this year.
The White Sox, though, will likely need a better effort from their right-hander than he had Tuesday against Detroit. After five scoreless frames, he was charged with six runs while recording one out in his final inning and raised his ERA almost one full run - from 1.89 - in his eighth start of the season.
"Things got ugly there in a hurry," Peavy told the team's website. "It's a little bit of everything with me. I've just got to be more under control and not let my emotions get the best of me there."
Peavy, who avoided the loss in that 10-8 defeat, will try to win a fifth consecutive start against the Cubs. He has a 1.78 ERA over the previous four matchups and gave up two runs over seven innings during his most recent start at Wrigley on June 11, 2010.
The Cubs, meanwhile, are hoping Paul Maholm (4-2, 4.35) can quickly return to his dominant form and extend his win streak to five. The left-hander hadn't given up more than one run in four consecutive victorious starts but allowed four over six innings in St. Louis on Tuesday, including two in the first.
"After the first, I started making a lot better pitches," Maholm told the team's website. "Some days you've just got to go out there and battle and whatever is working you just keep going with it."
Maholm is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two starts against the White Sox, with the most recent matchup a 4-2 win with Pittsburgh on June 15, 2007.
In this one, he'll try to help the Cubs (15-25) avoid a season high-tying sixth straight defeat and their first home sweep to the White Sox since June 11-13, 1999.
- Paul Konerko
- Jake Peavy
- Chicago Cubs
- Paul Maholm