Series Preview: Chicago Cubs

Time has stopped … records don't matter for the time being, Cubs vs Sox… Oil vs Water… mayhem erupts on the south side of Chicago starting at 1:05 on Friday afternoon. After taking 2 of 3 from the Northsiders on their home turf… revenge will be on the minds of many.

Opponent: Chicago Cubs
Record: 41-36, .531, Division Leader (NL Central)
Place: U.S. Cellular Field
Time & TV: Game 1: 1:05 p.m. (FSN); Game 2: 3:05 p.m. (WGN); Game 3: 2:05 p.m. (WGN)
2002 Record vs Sox: 3-3
2003 Record vs Sox: 1-2

The Chicago Cubs, who've lead the NL central for the most part of this season, have seemingly hit a mid-season skid. After losing two of three to the White Sox, they had a less than stellar series against the worst team in their division (Brewers). Make no bones about it, the Cubs need this series not only to save face in the Crosstown Classic, but also to right the course in their hunt for the NL Central crown.

WHO'S HOT (Last 7 days)
Sammy Sosa, RF: .350AVG, 3HR's, 5 RBI
--Sosa has tormented his former team, hitting .292 with 12 doubles, eight homers and 32 RBIs in 35 career games against the White Sox

WHO'S NOT (Last 7 days)
Todd Wellemeyer, RP: 5.0IP, 18.00 ERA, 6k's
--Since looking like a diamond found in the AAA rough a month ago, Wellemeyer has been anything but. Unless he starts putting together some productive relief appearances he should find himself back in Iowa.

Game #1:
Dan Wright (0-3, 5.57) vs. Matt Clement (5-7, 5.07)
--Last Saturday, the White Sox victimized Matt Clement in front of his home crowd, scoring seven runs in 3 1/3 innings. He should be ready for this game and Dan Wright better be as well. Both pitchers would benefit greatly from earning a victory.

Game #2:
Carlos Zambrano (6-6, 2.95) vs. Bartolo Colon (6-7, 3.93)
-- Zambrano vs Colon should be an electric matchup to watch. With these two flame-throwers on the mound against teams who've struggled to hit the ball, it should be a pitchers duel to remember

Game #3:
Esteban Loaiza (11-2, 1.99) vs. Kerry Wood (7-5 2.94)
--Many critics attributed the White Sox success against the Cubs due to the fact they didn't face Wood or Prior. That excuse wont work this time as potentially two all-star pitchers face off in what should be the best match-up of the series. After plunking Paul Konerko in the head last year, and eventually losing the game, Kerry Wood will look to reverse his South Side fortunes.

Ride the momentum from the previous series and be ready for a battle. After pretty much embarrassing the Cubs, Dusty Baker knows how serious this civil war is, and will have his troops ready.

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