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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. White Sox Series Preview

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The annual "Crosstown Cup" series begins tonight.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The White Sox got off to nearly as good a start as the Cubs did. But since they were 23-10 and six games in front in the A.L. Central, they have gone 25-40 and fallen into fourth place.

Let me have Jim Margalus, managing editor of our SB Nation White Sox site South Side Sox, explain it a bit further:

Following the White Sox this year is a lot like following the Cubs. Both teams started off shockingly well, putting themselves in excellent position to make the postseason, and both teams have stumbled as of late.

The only difference is that the Sox tailed off about a month and a half earlier than the Cubs did. And, as a result, they never built up that big of a cushion in the AL Central to absorb a prolonged slump.

And that they didn't make the postseason last year, nor did the preseason projections give them great odds, so there isn't that sense of growing confidence and momentum.

And instead of young players becoming fully formed, there are more guys who have seen their late primes slide into early declines before they were supposed to, which could result in the franchise's most identifiable fixtures being shipped out.

And instead of discussing how to go about extending the front office, we're wondering if there's going to be an overhaul of the baseball operations department, because it could very well be overdue.

Other than that, following the White Sox this year is a lot like following the Cubs.

Note: Even though these four games are split between two ballparks, it's essentially a four-game series, so here's all the info for all the games from Monday through Thursday.

Fun fact

The White Sox have not sold out any home games this year; even their Opening Day game April 8 fell about 2,000 short of a sellout. The two games against the Cubs should be sellouts, and I'd expect an almost half-and-half mix of fans.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (12-4, 2.60 ERA, 1.080 WHIP, 2.92 FIP) vs. Miguel Gonzalez (2-5, 4.41 ERA, 1.335 WHIP, 4.11 FIP)

Tuesday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (9-6, 2.27 ERA, 1.036 WHIP, 3.32 FIP) vs. James Shields (4-12, 4.99 ERA, 1.509 WHIP, 5.27 FIP)

Wednesday: Jason Hammel, RHP (9-5, 3.35 ERA, 1.109 WHIP, 4.37 FIP) vs. Jacob Turner (0-1, 14.73 ERA, 2.591 WHIP, 7.78 FIP)

Thursday: John Lackey, RHP (7-7, 3.79 ERA, 1.102 WHIP, 3.88 FIP) vs. Chris Sale (14-3, 3.18 ERA, 1.008 WHIP, 3.70 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 7:10 p.m. CT, ABC7 Chicago (Len & JD), CSN Chicago (Sox announcers)

Tuesday: 6:10 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago (Len & JD), WGN (Sox announcers), ESPN (outside Chicago market)

Wednesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, WGN (Len & JD), CSN Chicago (Sox announcers), ESPN (outside Chicago market)

Thursday: 7:05 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago (Len & JD), WGN (Sox announcers)

Prediction

The Cubs have righted the ship after their late-June/early-July skid, winning seven of their last 10. The Sox have won their last two, both by walkoffs, but even so have lost 10 of their last 15. The Cubs have favorable pitching matchups for three of the four games. So, they'll win three of the four games.

Up next

The Cubs host the Seattle Mariners at Wrigley Field in a three-game series beginning Friday afternoon.