Cubs and Sox: Here We Go Again

Interleague play returns with a bang as the Cubs face the White Sox.

This cross-town rivalry is hot enough, but since the White Sox are off to one of the best starts in team history, that adds a little spice to the three-game set, which starts on Friday at Wrigley Field.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and Cubs skipper Dusty Baker are already involved in a friendly war of words about parking at Wrigley.

But on the field, the Cubs are struggling to even reach the .500 mark and the Sox are starting to gain some of the spotlight in a town that generally treats them as second-class citizens.

Since the two teams started to face each other in 1997, the White Sox have a 22-20 edge. The Cubs won the season series over the White Sox in 2004, 4-2, thanks in large part to a three-game sweep at Wrigley July 2-4.

But the series was still painful for the North Siders in 2004.

Outfielder Todd Hollandsworth fouled a pitch off his shin on June 27 against the South Siders at U.S. Cellular Field and was out the rest of the year.

During the series at Wrigley, third baseman Aramis Ramirez injured his groin on a base-running play on July 2. He did not go on the disabled list, but he missed two weeks and the lingering injury continues to bother him this season.

Still trying to get his anemic offense going with some consistency, Guillen made several more moves in his batting order in hopes of getting them jumpstarted on Wednesday.

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was in the No. 5 spot in the 7-0 win over the Texas Rangers, followed by Jermaine Dye and then Carl Everett hitting seventh.

The top of the order stayed the same, as Scott Podsednik was the leadoff hitter, followed by Tadahito Iguchi, Aaron Rowand and cleanup hitter Paul Konerko.

"I think he's swinging the bat real well and we've struggled in the middle of the lineup," Guillen said of Pierzynski moving up. "I feel like we have to get something going. I think right now Carl's not swinging the bat the way he's capable of doing. When he does, he'll go back to regular spot."

Pierzynski came into Wednesday's game with Texas with home runs in three straight games, as well as going 6-for-18 (.333) over his last five games. He then made it four straight with an eighth-inning two-run home run.

Meanwhile, Everett is in the midst of an 0-for-9 slump, and just 2-for-14 in the seven-game homestand.

"Right now I'm trying to take advantage of the guys swinging the bat well," Guillen continued. "I move it around just because I'm trying to get something out of (the middle of the lineup)."

Guillen said that he will keep the new-look lineup intact for the time being, but obviously that will change this weekend when they begin interleague play at Wrigley. The second-year manager said that Everett would likely be the odd man out with no DH.

He could use Everett in right field for Dye, but a 3-for-4 game with three doubles by Dye on Wednesday forced Guillen to stick with him.

Everett will likely spend the weekend as a pinch-hitter.

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