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Monday, May 5, 2014
Series preview: White Sox at Cubs

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox's 2013 season was a complete disaster, and among the many areas where that was made clear was in the four head-to-head matchups with the Chicago Cubs.

The interleague season series between the cross-town rivals was reduced from six to four games last year and the White Sox dropped all of them to the Cubs. The first two-game series this year will start Monday night at Wrigley Field, followed by a two-game series on the South Side starting Wednesday.

Last year, the White Sox dropped three late-May matchups against the Cubs, with the only reprieve coming when one of the games at U.S. Cellular Field was rained out. They couldn’t avoid the inevitable, though, as the replayed game in early July also went to the Cubs.

In fact, the four consecutive defeats last year signify the longest losing streak to the Cubs since the White Sox dropped six consecutive games split between the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Going back to the 2012 season, the White Sox have lost six of the past seven games.

The White Sox’s offense has been the unquestioned star in the early going, but warning signals have arrived. Dynamic leadoff man Adam Eaton is on the disabled list, and it isn’t likely that Alejandro De Aza will supply the same energy in his place.

It also won’t help that the White Sox will lose the designated hitter for the first two games at Wrigley Field.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Alexei Ramirez has the most at-bats against Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija and is just 2-for-9 (.222) against him. In fact, White Sox players on the active roster are a combined 7-for-40 (.175) against Samardzija. .... Ramirez is hitless against Cubs starter Edwin Jackson in 17 at-bats. ... Cubs players are a combined 2-for-13 (.154) against White Sox starter Jose Quintana. ... No Cubs player has more than three at-bats against White Sox starter Hector Noesi and only five players have even faced him.

NOTES: Despite the lack of recent success against the Cubs, the White Sox lead the all-time series 49-45 since interleague play started in 1997. ... Other than last season's Cubs sweep, the White Sox have won four of the last five season series. .. The White Sox have won nine of their last 14 games at Wrigley Field. ... A total of 58.9 percent of the 94 games played between the teams since 1997 have been decided by three runs or less. ... A total of 17 of the 94 games have been decided on the last at-bat, the most recent on Paul Konerko's home run to give the White Sox a 3-2 victory in June of 2010. ... Four players in the current series have played for both teams: Ryan Sweeney, Edwin Jackson, Zach Putnam and Scott Downs.

PITCHING MATCHUPS: Monday -- White Sox LH Jose Quintana (1-2, 4.00 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Jeff Samardzija (0-3, 1.98), 7:05 p.m.; Tuesday -- White Sox RH Hector Noesi (0-1, 7.20) vs. Cubs RH Edwin Jackson (2-2, 5.24), 7:05 p.m.