White Sox-Cubs Preview

The inaugural BP Crosstown Cup won’t be awarded until later this

month, but the Chicago White Sox are making a strong claim to win

the trophy.

The White Sox look to extend their season-high winning streak to

five Sunday night when they go for their first series sweep against

the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in 11 seasons.

Awarded to the winner of the season series between these

intracity rivals, the BP Crosstown Cup will be handed out at U.S.

Cellular Field during the teams’ three-game series on the South

Side between June 25-27.

The White Sox (28-33) have looked at home on the North Side,

winning the first two games of this series to extend their

season-high winning streak to four. The last time they posted five

straight victories was a seven-game stretch from June 27-July

3.

“We’re getting the good pitching and timely hitting,” White Sox

outfielder – and former Cub – Juan Pierre said following Saturday’s

2-1 win. “We dug ourselves such a hole that it’s going to take one

of these runs to get back in this thing. This is a big stretch for

us.”

Gavin Floyd (2-6, 6.18 ERA) gets the ball in the series finale

as the White Sox go for their first sweep at Wrigley Field since

June 11-13, 1999. They’ve won five straight and nine of 11 overall

against the Cubs.

Floyd did not earn a decision in his last outing, but the

right-hander delivered one of his strongest performances of the

season, striking out a season-high eight and giving up one run in

six innings of Tuesday’s 7-2 loss to Detroit.

“He threw the ball great. That’s the Gavin we expected all

year,” White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski told the team’s official

website. “… Hopefully he’ll build from it and get better form

there.”

Floyd, 5-1 with a 2.13 ERA in eight career interleague outings,

will make his second career start against the Cubs. He did not get

a decision in a 6-5 loss at Wrigley Field on June 18, despite

holding the Cubs to one run and four hits in seven innings.

The Cubs (27-35), who have lost nine of 12 to fall eight games

below .500 for the first time since June 2007, will hand the ball

to Ted Lilly (1-5, 3.28). More run support could benefit the

veteran left-hander, who has received two or fewer runs in eight of

his nine starts.

Lilly struck out a season-high eight in eight innings Tuesday

but was denied his first victory since April 24 as the Cubs lost

3-2 to Milwaukee on a walk-off two-run single by Casey McGehee off

closer Carlos Marmol.

Lilly, who is trying to avoid becoming the Cubs first pitcher

since Ryan Dempster to lose six straight decisions, is 5-2 with a

5.94 ERA in 10 starts versus the White Sox.

Lilly hasn’t had much success against Paul Konerko, who is 6 for

21 with three homers against him. The White Sox captain has driven

in two runs in each of the first two games of this series and is

batting .480 with a homer and seven RBIs during a seven-game

hitting streak.

Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd will look to extend his hitting

streak to 10 after going 3 for 4 on Saturday. He is batting .541

with two home runs and seven RBIs during that stretch.

Cubs second baseman Ryan Theriot had a ninth-inning RBI single

Saturday and is batting .433 (13 for 30) in his last seven

games.

If the Cubs lose Sunday, it will be their first four-game slide

at Wrigley Field since a five-game stretch Aug. 20-Sept. 3,

2008.