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Cubs-White Sox preview

CHICAGO -- After five seasons in Cincinnati, Todd Frazier is looking forward to his first taste of the crosstown rivalry between the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs.

"I heard it gets a little crazy over here on the South Side, which is great," Frazier said. "I wouldn't expect anything less from the fans we have here. ... I heard it's kind of like a playoff atmosphere."

Expect U.S. Cellular Field to be buzzing for Monday's series opener, even if the clubs appear to be heading in opposite directions in their respective seasons. The teams will play Monday and Tuesday on the South Side before shifting eight miles north to Wrigley Field for a pair of games Wednesday and Thursday.

The Cubs (59-38) own the best record in the National League and have spent 110 days in first place in the NL Central. Manager Joe Maddon's team is 6-3 since the All-Star break following Sunday's 6-5 comeback win against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Maddon said he had not decided who would serve as his team's designated hitter to open the interleague series.

"It will be entertaining," Maddon said with a grin. "The South Siders have a wonderful sense of humor that we all can appreciate.

"From a game perspective, having been involved in so many games -- we've been to the playoffs there with the Rays and the Angels ... I've had a little connection. Really good people."

Meanwhile, the White Sox (48-50) have lost seven of 10 games since the All-Star break despite picking up a pair of wins Sunday against Detroit. After starting the season 23-10, the team has gone 25-40.

A roller-coaster season for the White Sox took a bizarre twist Saturday when left-hander Chris Sale reportedly cut up the team's throwback uniforms because he thought they were uncomfortable. Sale was suspended five days by the team and will not be eligible to return until Thursday.

While the White Sox open the series without their ace, the Cubs will turn to theirs.

Right-hander Jake Arrieta (12-4, 2.60 ERA) will look to turn in his second strong performance in a row. During his last time out, Arrieta limited the New York Mets to one run on five hits in seven innings. That snapped a rare cold streak for Arrieta, who did not earn a quality start in his previous four outings.

Arrieta is 3-1 with a 3.82 ERA in six career starts against the White Sox. Since joining the Cubs in 2013, Arrieta is 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA in three starts against the South Siders.

Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (2-5, 4.41 ERA) will take the ball for the White Sox. Gonzalez has posted four consecutive quality starts and owns a 2.77 ERA during that span. In his only career start against the Cubs on Aug. 24, 2014, he allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Frazier said he spoke with manager Robin Ventura about the intensity of the crosstown series.

"I've played against Cleveland (when I was with the Reds)," Frazier said. "We have that interstate rivalry. I don't think it's anywhere close to what this is.

"Talking to Robin about it, he said these kind of series -- and the New York 'subway series' -- are just a little different than the other ones. So it's going to be exciting. I've got a lot of family here, and they're excited, as well."