Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox Preview, Friday 5/18, 1:20 CT

Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs hits a solo home run against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

The Kerry Wood retirement story is obviously going to dominate Cubs news coverage. Go here for Wood discussion. There is also a game to be played, so let's talk about that, too.

For once, the Cubs are the team with the advantage for having to play a Friday afternoon home game.

The White Sox' game at Anaheim ended at about 5:45 CT on Thursday. Given the time they'd have needed to shower, dress and get to their charter flight back to Chicago, they likely didn't arrive at O'Hare until about midnight CT. Then they have to get home... and then get up and be at Wrigley Field for a day game.

Regardless of who has to do this, it's not right. The Cubs should be allowed, two or three times a year, to schedule Friday night home games.

Apart from that, this is one of the least-anticipated crosstown series since interleague play began. The Cubs are far from contention, and the White Sox sit three games under .500, 4½ games out of first place, though they probably have a better shot at contending in their division than the Cubs do. Today could be the first Cubs/White Sox regular season game ever at Wrigley Field that isn't a complete sellout. As of the time I wrote this, tickets were still available in almost every price range.

Such is the state of Chicago baseball in 2012.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus rf, Campana cf, Castro ss, LaHair 1b, Soriano lf, Stewart 3b, Castillo c, Barney 2b, Samardzija p

White Sox lineup:

DeAza cf, Beckham 2b, Dunn lf, Konerko 1b, Rios rf, Pierzynski c, Ramirez ss, Morel 3b, Humber p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jeff Samardzija
Jeff Samardzija
vs. Philip Humber
Philip Humber
White Sox
4-1 W-L 1-2
2.89 ERA 5.77
45 SO 35
14 BB 17
2 HR 5
vs. Sox -- vs. Cubs

2012 - Jeff Samardzija 4-1 9 7 0 0 0 0 43.2 37 16 14 2 14 45 2.89 1.17

2012 - Philip Humber 1-2 6 6 1 1 0 0 34.1 31 22 22 5 17 35 5.77 1.40

Jeff Samardzija has a shot at the NL All-Star team if he keeps pitching like he has so far this season.

Raise your hand if you thought you would read that sentence in May 2012 and it would be true.

Samardzija doesn't have much career experience vs. the White Sox; current Sox are just 3-for-10 against him, though one of the hits is a home run by Adam Dunn.

As you probably know, Philip Humber threw a perfect game against the Mariners earlier this year. In his other five starts, he has an 8.49 ERA and 2.06 WHIP. On the other hand, he threw seven shutout innings against the Cubs on July 2, 2011 at Wrigley Field. That's his only appearance vs. the Cubs; current Cubs are 5-for-15 against him.

Today's game is on WGN with Len & Bob. It's also on CSN Chicago with the Sox announcers. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation White Sox site South Side Sox. Be careful over there, though.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 1:20 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 2:20, 3:20 and 4:05 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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