Cubs-White Sox Preview


While he's attracting attention from other teams, Matt Garza claims to be focused on the next start for his current club.

The right-hander will seek to lead the Chicago Cubs to their first season sweep of the White Sox in 15 years in Monday night's makeup game at U.S. Cellular Field.

Garza's name has continued to swirl in trade rumors, but it's hardly hindered his pitching. He's gone 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA in his last four starts.

"For the past six or seven years my name always comes up (as a potential trade target). Until my phone rings, I'm going to be a Cub. I'm just worried about the next five days," Garza said after allowing one run over eight innings of a 3-1 win over Oakland on Wednesday.

Garza (4-1, 3.45 ERA) will try to keep rolling by leading the Cubs (38-48) to a 4-0 finish against their crosstown rivals after their May 28 game was rained out. They didn't take as much time to record their only other season sweep of the White Sox, winning three games June 5-7, 1998.

"If we win (Monday), it'd be nice to sweep any series," manager Dale Sveum told the team's official website. "But it's a little anticlimactic to how it could've been if we had played the games when they were supposed to be played."

The Cubs have won seven of 11 after taking two of three from NL Central co-leader Pittsburgh this weekend. They recovered from their 18th blown save of the season for a 4-3 win in 11 innings Sunday.

The Cubs have a team-record 11 wins in interleague play this season, posting a 2.99 ERA while hitting 23 homers in 17 games against the AL in 2013.

The White Sox (34-51) have been heading in a different direction, losing nine of 11 after a three-game sweep by Tampa Bay over the weekend. The club lost 3-1 on Sunday and has scored nine runs in its last five contests.

Alex Rios has struggled badly of late, batting .190 with no homers and five RBIs in his last 21 games. He's hitting .114 (4 for 35) in his last 11 matchups with the Cubs and is 5 for 28 (.179) all-time against Garza.

"It's the same thing day in and day out. It just gets old. You have to grind it out. That's it," Rios told the team's official website.

In his first start against the Cubs, Hector Santiago (3-5, 3.50) will try to build on a solid effort his last time out. The left-hander gave up two runs over seven innings of a 4-2 defeat to Baltimore on Wednesday.

Santiago, who matched a career high with nine strikeouts, has attempted to help himself by moving his bullpen sessions back one day.

"You get that one day instead of having two days off, of getting that feel off the mound," he told the team's website.

Santiago will likely have to face a rejuvenated Alfonso Soriano, who is expected to serve as the designated hitter for this game. Soriano, batting .342 with five homers and 14 RBIs in his last nine contests, has gone 8 for 17 with two home runs and six RBIs in four games as the DH this season.

Soriano has a .384 average in 29 lifetime games at that spot, 112 points higher than his career average. He's 10 for 29 with two homers in his last eight games against the White Sox.