Philip Humber is still looking for his first victory since throwing a perfect game nearly a month ago. He'll look to pick up that win this afternoon when the White Sox open interleague play with a three-game series with their crosstown rivals, the Cubs, at Wrigley Field.
Humber has posted an 0-2 record in four starts since making history against Seattle on April 21. Though he hasn't posted a victory since that perfect game, he did pitch well enough to win on Sunday versus the Royals.
The right-hander allowed a run on four hits and three walks over 6 2/3 innings of a no-decision, striking out seven in a game his club went on to lose 9-1.
"I don't know if he's as sharp as he was in spring or in Seattle, but he was able to find his spots, control, and throw all his pitches," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of his starter.
Humber is 1-2 with a 5.77 earned run average in six starts, having allowed three runs or less in four of those outings but a total of 17 runs in the other two.
The 29-year-old has faced the Cubs just once before, getting the win with seven scoreless innings of five-hit ball on July 2 of last year at Wrigley Field.
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija will square off with the White Sox for the first time as a starter, though he has faced them three times before in relief. He is 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA in seven starts this season ahead of this outing.
The 27-year-old righty is 2-0 with a 1.03 ERA in four starts since getting tagged for five runs over 3 2/3 frames versus the Marlins on April 19 in his only loss of the season. He lasted five innings in a no-decision versus the Brewers on Sunday, charged with a run on three hits and two walks with six strikeouts.
"They kind of had our number here at Miller Park," remarked Samardzija, who threw 91 pitches. "I wanted to set the tone early and get us in the dugout so our hitters could get out there.
Samardzija is expected to face designated hitter Adam Dunn, who Ventura will start in left field during this series to keep his bat in the lineup. Dunn is hitting .241 in 38 games with 12 homers and 28 RBI this season and is a career .273 hitter at Wrigley Field with 25 homers and 46 RBI in 69 games.
Dunn went hitless in 16 at-bats versus the Cubs last season, though the White Sox won four of the six meetings. The Pale Hose have taken five of their last seven at Wrigley Field, upping their interleague record there to 20-22.
Dunn and A.J. Pierzynski each knocked in two runs in the White Sox' 6-1 win over the Angels on Thursday, just their second victory in six games. Dayan Viciedo added a solo homer and Chris Sale got the win after throwing 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball.
"We continued to put pressure on them today," Ventura said. "We had good at- bats and Chris has been good for us."
The Cubs, meanwhile, look to avoid a fourth straight setback after falling short in a rally attempt on Thursday. The Cubs plated four runs in the ninth inning against the Phillies' bullpen, with Welington Castillo hitting a two- out double that brought in three runs and Darwin Barney adding an RBI single, but Reed Johnson grounded out to end the game.
Castillo also hit a solo homer for the Cubs, as did Starlin Castro, while starter Chris Volstad was touched for four runs on six hits and three walks in just two innings.
"I forced it instead of letting my ability take over. I mean, I know it's in there, it's just a matter of tapping into it and finding it at this point," said the struggling Volstad.
The White Sox went 11-7 in interleague play last season and haven't posted a losing record versus the Cubs since going 1-5 in 2007.
The Cubs went 5-10 versus the American League a season ago and trail the series with the White Sox 39-45.
This series will also feature a matchup of former teammates turned managers, with Ventura and Cubs skipper Dale Sveum having played together on the White Sox in 1992. Both are getting their first taste of this rivalry as managers.