After Chicago’s crosstown rivals met last weekend, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen conceded that there wasn’t much his team could do to prevent a three-game sweep by the Cubs.
Guillen’s club, however, will have a chance for redemption against Ryan Dempster and the Cubs on Friday in the opener of a three-game set at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox (43-35) were outscored 22-11 in losing all three games to the Cubs (49-30) at Wrigley Field. The Cubs have won their last six games against the White Sox, also winning nine of the last 10 intracity matchups.
“They kicked our butt and a loss is a loss no matter who you lose against or what kind of weekend you play,” Guillen said after the series. “They played better than we did. They performed better. They hit better, they pitched better. Not a lot you can say.”
It was converted closer Dempster (9-2, 2.63 ERA) on the mound for the Cubs in last weekend’s finale, and he’ll begin this series on Friday.
He yielded a season-high 10 hits on Sunday, but limited the White Sox to one run in eight innings in Sunday’s 7-1 victory.
It was his first career start versus his crosstown opponents. He is 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA in eight overall appearances against the White Sox.
The right-hander has given up three earned runs or fewer in all but two of his 16 starts. The Cubs have also won seven of Dempster’s last nine starts, and he has won four straight decisions.
Dempster also improved to 9-0 at home, but has yet to win on the road where he has gone 0-2 with a 2.48 ERA in six appearances.
Location hasn’t mattered to the Cubs’ Aramis Ramirez when it comes to facing the White Sox. The third baseman went 6-for-13 (.462) with four homers and eight RBIs in last weekend’s series, and has hit .382 (42-for-110) with 11 homers and 30 RBIs in 30 career games versus the White Sox.
He is also 7-for-14 with four homers and 10 RBIs off of Friday’s scheduled starter Jose Contreras (6-6, 3.96).
The Cubs could be further short-handed as they head to the South Side. Reliever Scott Eyre left Thursday’s 11-4 loss to Baltimore with a left groin strain, and outfielder Kosuke Fukudome missed a second straight game with tightness in his left calf.
While Fukudome could be back in the lineup this weekend, according to the team’s official Web site, the Cubs are still without outfielders Alfonso Soriano (broken left ring finger) and Reed Johnson (lower back spasms).
“The problems we have is that we’re all banged up,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
Piniella hopes those problems don’t carry over onto their 10-game road trip. The Cubs, 16-20 as visitors, have dropped three straight on the road, but swept the White Sox in three games at U.S. Cellular Field from June 22-24, 2007.
On Friday, they’ll face Contreras, whom the Cubs roughed up for a season-high nine runs and 10 hits, while lasting 3 1-3 innings—his shortest start of the year—in an 11-7 win on Saturday. He gave up three homers in a nine-run fourth inning.
The right-hander, who has lost three straight decisions, fell to 1-3 with a 6.39 ERA in five career starts versus the Cubs. He is 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA in three games against them at home, where he is 3-3 with a 3.04 ERA in seven games this season.
The White Sox return to U.S. Cellular Field after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 on Thursday. John Danks and four relievers combined on a five-hitter to help the White Sox maintain their slim half-game lead over Minnesota in the AL Central.
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