<
>

Series preview: Cubs at White Sox

CHICAGO – Even though the Chicago White Sox continue to plod along with a stagnant on offense, they have found a way to close out victories in their last three games.

The last two of those games were at Wrigley Field, as the White Sox won Monday on Marcus Semien's RBI in the 12th inning. On Tuesday they got their go-ahead run came in the eighth inning on a home run from Gordon Beckham.

It hasn’t been pretty as the White Sox have batted just .191 (26-for-136) with three home runs as a team over their last four games. They have averaged three runs per game since Saturday, well under their 5.03 average since the start of the season.

Going back seven games, the White Sox are hitting just .207 (49-for-237) as a team with 15 doubles, four home runs and 21 runs scored. With runners in scoring position over that stretch, the White Sox are batting a paltry .145.

What has led the club has been the bullpen. White Sox relievers have a combined 1.53 ERA over the past 16 games, delivering 10 scoreless games in that stretch. It is the lowest bullpen ERA in the American League since April 20 and the second-lowest in the major leagues to Atlanta’s 1.49 mark.

While the arrival of Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam has triggered the shift, right-hander Ronald Belisario has also played a big role. Belisario has allowed just one unearned run with eight strikeouts and two holds over his last seven games (11 innings).

The results are a far cry from what was happening early in the season. Over the first 18 games, White Sox relievers had a 6.12 ERA. The change has been impressive.

Over the last 58 2/3 innings, the White Sox bullpen has given up 40 hits, 14 runs (10 earned) and 28 walks. Over the previous 57 1/3 innings those numbers were 60 hits, 41 runs (39 earned) and 41 walks.

HEAD TO HEAD: Beckham is batting .333 (12-for-36) with a double, triple, two home runs and eight RBIs in 11 career games against the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field. Beckham has a hit in 10 of the 11 games. … Paul Konerko has a .283 batting average with 13 home runs and 30 RBIs in 39 career games at U.S. Cellular Field against the Cubs. … Alexei Ramirez has six multi-hit games at home against the Cubs.

NOTES: With a victory Wednesday or Thursday, the White Sox will clinch their 10th season series victory over the Cubs, the last coming in 2012. … Jose Abreu is batting .304 (21-for-69) with eight home runs and 21 RBIs over his last seven haves. He has four multi-RBI games in that stretch and six multi-hit games. … Closer Matt Lindstrom has delivered 25 consecutive scoreless innings against the Cubs with 20 strikeouts.

PITCHING MATCHUPS: Wednesday -- White Sox LH John Danks (2-2, 5.00) vs. Cubs LH Travis Wood (2-3, 3.35), 7:10 p.m.; Thursday: White Sox RH Scott Carroll (1-1, 0.68) vs. Cubs RH Jake Arrieta (0-0, 0.00), 7:10 p.m.