The state of Chicago baseball couldn't be more different in the final month and a half of the regular season.
The White Sox, expected to challenge for the American League Central, are 25 games below .500 and a dismal 11-25 since June 30. They were just swept in a three-game home set by the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cubs are enjoying an 18-7 overall stretch, where they have won 10 of 13 at home. The recent success has them four games over .500 and in contention for both the National League Central title and a wild-card berth.
After taking two of three at Toronto over the weekend, the Cubs host the final two games of the annual series that captures citywide attention. The Cubs outscored the White Sox 17-10 to win the first two high-energy meetings on the South Side last month.
"We have a chance to make some noise," Cubs pitcher Jameson Taillon said.
Scheduled Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks (4-6, 3.96 ERA) was charged with three runs, while yielding four hits, in 6 1/3 innings during a 7-3 win against the White Sox on July 25. However, the Cubs have lost Hendricks' three starts since, during which he's 0-2 with a 6.19 ERA.
The right-hander allowed only a two-run homer, plus four other hits and two walks, while striking out six, in five innings of Wednesday's 4-3 road loss to the New York Mets.
In 12 career starts against the White Sox, Hendricks is 2-6 with a 4.77 ERA.
White Sox All-Star Luis Robert Jr. doubled against Hendricks last month and is 4-for-9 (.444) with two homers against him. However, it's uncertain if Robert will be available after a finger injury prevented him from starting any of the three games against Milwaukee. Robert has three of his 31 home runs in the last 11 games he started.
"We're going to err on the side of caution, we're not going to rush (Robert)," said White Sox manager Pedro Grifol, whose team totaled five runs and 14 hits in the last two games.
"I want to make sure that a couple of days, two or three days, doesn't turn into a couple weeks."
Meanwhile, teammate Tim Anderson has yet to hear back on his appeal of a six-game suspension from an Aug. 5 fight with Cleveland's Jose Ramirez. Anderson is a .318 career hitter versus Hendricks.
White Sox right-hander Touki Toussaint (1-5, 4.27) is expected to start Tuesday. He pitched a scoreless inning of relief against the Cubs on July 26 and has a 2.45 ERA against them lifetime in three relief appearances.
Since last facing the Cubs, Toussaint made three starts, going 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA.
Toussaint allowed four runs, six hits and five walks, but struck out nine over five innings during last Tuesday's 7-1 loss to the New York Yankees. It was his second consecutive start with nine strikeouts.
Teammate Dansby Swanson homered twice and added another hit with four RBIs during the July 25 win over the White Sox. He went 3-for-7 with a double, homer and five RBIs in the last two games versus Toronto.
—Field Level Media