Friday, June 25, 2010

Series Preview: Cubs VS White Sox

If the Chicago Cubs where ever in need of a series win, it's right now. The Boys in Blue are in danger of dropping out of third place if they lose today. The Brewers are Cubs are tied for third in the NL Central, both 8 games back of first place St. Louis.

When the White Sox and Cubs met from June 11-13, both teams were struggling and hoping that a series win against their rivals would get them going. The White Sox won the series and have a 9-0 mark since then. The last time the Sox lost a game was the finale at Wrigley when Ted Lilly flirted with a no-hitter and Carlos Marmol came on to save the thrilling 1-0 Cubs win.

The South Siders are looking to stay red hot. They've won 13 of 14 to climb to 37-34, which puts them in third place in the AL Central. The Twins are in front, 2.5 ahead of the Sox and 0.5 ahead of Detroit. Ozzie's crew is hoping for to extend their winning streak to ten today with a win at U.S. Cellular Field. The homestand started with a sweep of a solid Braves club this week.

The Cubs, now 32-40, started this road trip by dropping two of three to the last place Mariners. Sweet Lou's club just started a stretch of 20 games in 20 days (17 remaining) leading up to the All-Star Break. The Cubbies got a big win yesterday 3-2 in a 13-inning affair to avoid the sweep in Seattle. The bullpen played a key role in allowing the game to last long enough for Marlon Byrd to stroke a single to put the Cubs in front in the top of inning number 13.

The BP Crosstown Cup is on the line this weekend. The Cubs need to win all three games in order to be awarded the trophy, but the Sox only need a series win to guarantee themselves the prize. The last time the teams met, there was a sort of friendly feeling going around because the Blackhawks brought this city together. This time around, both teams mean business.

Prior to the game, the Cubs made a roster move activating Aramis Ramirez from the 15-day DL. Rami will hope for a big return against the Crosstown Rivals. He spent the Seattle series working with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo in order to get his swing back. Aramis has been rehabbing from a thumb injury. Before going down, he hit just .168 with 5 homers.

In order to clear space for Aramis on the roster, the Cubs decided to designate Chad Tracy for assignment. This means they have ten days to either trade him, release him, or place him on waivers. Chad hit .250 in 28 games this year, and many fans would have rather seen him stick around than Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot.

Saturday night's game will be the 20,000th game in Cubs history. The Cubs first gave ever contest was a 4-0 victory at Louisville on April 25, 1876. They reached 10,000 games on June 9, 1947 in a 1-0 loss to the Braves. Hopefully by #30,000 the Cubs have their third World Series title.

Saturday (June 26) is also a special day for Cubs legend and current broadcaster Ron Santo. It marks the 50 year anniversary of Ron's big league debut in Pittsburgh in 1960. Santo missed the trip to Seattle to rest up, and will return to the WGN Radio booth this afternoon. The Cubs will honor Ron's anniversary in a ceremony on Monday.

Game 1: Friday at 3:05 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Carlos Zambrano (3-5, 5.10 ERA)
White Sox Starting Pitcher: Jake Peavy (6-5, 5.07 ERA)
Cubs TV Broadcast: CSN
Sox TV Broadcast: WGN

Game 2: Saturday at 6:10 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Carlos Silva (8-2, 3.01 ERA)
White Sox Starting Pitcher: Freddy Garcia (8-3, 4.85 ERA)
National TV Broadcast: FOX

Game 3: Sunday at 1:05 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: TBA (Most likely Ryan Dempster)
White Sox Starting Pitcher: John Danks (7-5, 3.23 ERA)
Cubs TV Broadcast: WGN
Sox TV Broadcast: CSN

The Sox dodge Ted Lilly, who tossed a 1-hitter against them the last time the two teams met, but they'll have to deal with Silva instead, who was scratched from the Seattle series with a hamstring injury. After this game, the Cubs go back to the Friendly Confines as they welcome the Pirates for a three game series to close out the month. The South Siders will travel to Kansas City for a three game set starting Monday.

"Let's go get a win today!"

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