(Sports Network) - The White Sox have taken advantage of the Cubs' struggling offense to post their longest winning streak in 49 years. The Cubs and their bats might find it difficult to break out against John Danks.
The left-handed Danks will try to improve on his stellar career numbers against his crosstown rivals this afternoon when the two Chicago teams wrap a three-game set at U.S. Cellular Field as well as their 2010 regular-season series.
Danks draws a favorable opponent as he seeks to win a fourth straight start. He is 2-0 with a sparkling 0.90 earned run average in three career starts against the Cubs and brings a 5-2 mark and 2.66 ERA in 12 interleague starts into this outing.
The 25-year-old has a 2.05 ERA over his personal win streak and has pitched at least seven innings in each outing. He bested the Braves on Tuesday with seven innings of three-run ball to improve to 7-5 on the season with a 3.23 ERA.
Danks is 4-3 with a 2.41 ERA in eight home starts this season and missed out on facing the Cubs when these teams met at Wrigley Field back on June 11-13. The White Sox won the first two contests before losing the series finale, but they haven't lost since, ripping off 11 straight wins for their longest string of victories since a 12-game burst from June 17-27, 1961.
After shutting out the Cubs in Friday's opener, the White Sox needed Paul Konerko's solo homer in the eighth inning to notch a 3-2 triumph on Saturday. The blast was Konerko's 19th of the season, third most in the majors.
"He's a very quiet leader," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of his first baseman. "There's one thing about him, he doesn't panic in the crucial situation. He's very professional when the game's on the line, he's more relaxed."
Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez both drove in a run in the victory, the club's 15th in 16 games. The White Sox are now 15-2 against the National League this season and have won seven of the last eight against the Cubs on the South Side.
Playing one day after starter Carlos Zambrano exploded on his teammates in the dugout after the first inning of Friday's game, an incident that earned him a team-issued suspension, the Cubs tied the contest at two in the seventh inning when Aramis Ramirez connected on his first homer since June 5th in what was his second game since returning from a thumb injury.
The Cubs, who became the first MLB team to reach 20,000 regular-season games, have scored just six runs in their last five games though and have lost six of their last eight overall.
"It's something we can build from hopefully," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella of the close defeat. "We played with some intensity tonight, we played the game well. We just didn't get the big hit when we needed it."
The Cubs' Ryan Dempster will try to rebound from a tough-luck loss last time out as he held the Mariners to just two runs and five hits with eight strikeouts in an eight-inning complete game that saw the righty lose a 2-0 decision. He allowed two earned runs for a third straight start and went the distance for the first time this season and 11th time in his career, but still fell to 5-6 with a 3.56 ERA on the season.
The right-hander has faced the White Sox 12 times in his career, including five starts, and is 1-4 with three saves and a 5.09 ERA.