Cubs-Red Sox Preview

The last time the Chicago Cubs played at Fenway Park, Woodrow

Wilson was president and slugger Babe Ruth was a 13-game winner for

the Boston Red Sox.

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.