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Sunday Night Preview: Cubbies v Chisox
by ASA - 06/28/2008
ESPN has scheduled the White Sox and Cubs again for their Sunday Night Game of the Week and with good reason. These two teams have a strong dislike for each other which makes this one of the best Interleague series in all of baseball.
This weekendâ€™s series should be a little more intense than usual after the Cubs just stuck it to the Sox last weekend in a 3-0 sweep at Wrigley. The Cubbies came from behind to win a close game on Friday night 4-3. The home team then proceeded to pretty much pound the Sox on Saturday and Sunday 11-7 and 7-1. With those three wins the Cubs have now won 9 of the last 10 meetings with the Sox dating back to July of 2006.
Slated to start for the White Sox on Sunday night is veteran Mark Buehrle. Buehrle has produced double digit win totals for the White Sox in seven straight seasons and he looks like he is well on his way for 10 or more wins in 2008. Overall Buehrle is 5-6 on the season with a 4.04 ERA and a WHIP of 1.31. However, in his last four starts he has been nearly unhittable. During that stint he has gone eight innings in each outing. He has a 3-0 record and a paltry 1.36 ERA over that four game span. He is 8th in the A.L. in total innings pitched this season with 104.2. In Buehrleâ€™s last five starts he has allowed an average of just 1.6 runs per game. In Comiskey Park he is 2-2 with an ERA of 3.46 and his opponents are hitting just .224. The Cubs have knocked Buehrle around pretty good, however, as he is just 3-4 with an ERA above 5.00.
The White Sox offense takes a hit in this series as 1B Paul Konerko is still on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique muscle. He missed last weekendâ€™s series and isnâ€™t expected back until next weekend at the earliest. Konerko had been one of the White Sox's top hitters against the Cubs with 14 career homers.
The Chicago Cubs will send recently recalled left-hander Sean Marshall to the mound to face the Sox on Sunday. In his first start since being recalled, Marshall pitched last Tuesday vs. Baltimore and promptly got shelled. He allowed eight base runners in just 4.2 innings. Marshall allowed four earned runs in that stint and the Cubs lost 7-5. That loss ended the Cubs 14-game home winning streak. He began the year at Iowa before he was recalled April 9 and posted a 4.15 ERA in 13 relief appearances. He had a save and no decisions before he was sent back to Iowa in early May. Marshall shouldnâ€™t get too comfortable in the clubhouse as this will most likely be his last start as Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to come off the D.L. and resume his spot in the rotation. Marshall has had some success vs. his cross town rival going 1-1 with a 2.92 lifetime ERA vs. the Sox.
Statistically these two teams basically mirror each other as they are both in the top ten in runs scored with the Cubs second at 430 runs while the Sox are eighth with 373 runs. The Cubbies have the advantage in batting average as they stand at .284 as a team which is the best in the Bigs. The White Sox are 11th in team average at .263. While the Cubs might have the advantage at the plate over the White Sox, itâ€™s the South-Siders who hold the ever so small advantage on the mound. The Sox are second in the Majors in team ERA at 3.46 while the Cubs are fourth with a 3.68 team ERA. Ironically these two clubs are tied at fifth in team batting average against at .245.
Home field advantage could be the difference here as the Sox are 24-11 at home this year while the Cubs are just 16-20 away.
Will the Sox get some much needed revenge after last weekâ€™s sweep at the hands of their rivals or will the Cubs continue their recent domination of their south side counterparts? Either way, it will provide some very good drama on Sunday night.