Cubs-Red Sox Preview
Almost a century later, the Cubs return to Fenway looking to prevent Jon Lester and the Red Sox from extending their season-high winning streak to seven Friday night.
Though the Cubs took two of three from the Red Sox at Wrigley Field in 2005, Chicago makes its first visit to Fenway Park since losing the 1918 World Series in six games.
"It's kind of hard to believe it's been since 1918, with all the interleague stuff," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "Everybody I know on the face of the earth is going to be there. It will be a fun weekend for all of us."
The Cubs lost two of three at Boston in the series, which until 2004 was the last time the Red Sox won a world championship. Chicago has not won a title since 1908.
"We're not going to put all of that on us. We're just going to do the best we can to win a game," said Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena, who went to high school outside Boston and attended Northeastern University. "It's a historic event. We're going to enjoy it."
The Red Sox (23-20) expect plenty of Cubs fans to be in attendance for the weekend series.
"They are all over the country," Boston pitcher and former Cub Rich Hill told the Red Sox's official website. "It's probably the most beloved National League team. The Red Sox are the most beloved American League team."
While history is one motivating factor for the Cubs, they also will have momentum on their side after sweeping a two-game set at Florida. Chicago (19-23) likely will need to be at its best against a Boston team that has won nine of 11 overall and is tied for third all-time with a 140 interleague victories.
Chicago is 41-60 in interleague road games.
"Both historical organizations, just one's going in a different direction," Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron said.
Chicago will be put to the test against Lester (5-1, 3.28 ERA), who is 7-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 13 interleague starts.
The left-hander is 5-0 with a 3.05 ERA in his last six overall outings, and he has a 1.38 ERA while striking out 16 in 13 innings to win his last two at home.
Lester, however, has issued nine walks and posted a 7.15 ERA in consecutive starts overall - both on the road. He gave up four runs and walked four in six innings of a 7-5 win at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
Pena is batting .294 with five homers and a double versus Lester, while Marlon Byrd is 1 for 9 against him. Byrd, however, has homered in consecutive games and hit .347 in his last 24.
Doug Davis (0-1, 1.80) makes his second start for the Cubs after he allowed three runs - one earned - and four hits in five innings of a 3-0 loss to San Francisco on Saturday in his Chicago debut. The left-hander is 3-2 with a 3.92 ERA in six starts against the Red Sox, and he has not faced them since pitching for Arizona in 2008.
David Ortiz is 2 for 5 with a double against Davis and went 3 for 4 with a homer in a 4-3 win over Detroit on Thursday.
Boston first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has hit .283 with 11 homers and 24 RBIs in 38 games against the Chicago, but he's 7 for 34 (.206) when facing Davis.
The Red Sox, who have also won six straight at home, haven't won seven in a row overall since Sept. 8-16, 2009.