Though the Chicago Cubs have been the majors' best team at home, playing away from Wrigley Field has been a problem.
The Cubs hope to avoid a season-high fifth straight road loss -- and a three-game overall skid -- when they play the second contest of their crosstown series with the White Sox on Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field.The NL Central-leading Cubs (49-31) boast a 33-10 mark at Wrigley, but are 16-21 as visitors. They were handed their fourth consecutive road defeat on Friday, 10-3 to the White Sox (44-35).Jim Edmonds, Geovany Soto and Mike Fontenot each homered for the Cubs, who matched a four-game road skid from May 16-23, 2007. They haven't dropped five straight away from home since a nine-game slide from Aug. 25-Sept. 10, 2006.The Cubs have also lost three of four overall, and will be trying to avoid tying the three-game losing streak they had June 17-19.The White Sox, meanwhile, remained atop the AL Central and won for the 13th time in 15 home games, improving to 25-11 at U.S. Cellular Field this season."Just like the Cubs do, they play extremely well at home, and we like to think that we do as well," said first baseman Nick Swisher, whose third career grand slam capped a season-best seven-run third inning for the White Sox. "When we're at our home, we feel most confident."Jermaine Dye added three RBIs, while Carlos Quentin had four of his team's 14 hits to help the White Sox snap a six-game overall losing streak to the Cubs. The White Sox had lost nine of their previous 10 meetings with their crosstown rivals, including three consecutive losses last weekend at Wrigley."You have to take care of business at home," said Dye, who has hit .400 (22-for-55) with five homers and 17 RBIs in his last 14 home games. "I think guys are more comfortable whether it's sleeping in their beds, home-cooked meals or just being able to step in that batter's box and feel good with the surroundings."White Sox starter Javier Vazquez (7-6, 4.24 ERA) has also been at his best at home, going 5-1 with a 4.14 ERA in seven starts.The right-hander has won three straight home starts, and a victory Saturday would match the four-start winning streak he had April 19-June 3, 2006.To do that, though, he'll have to bounce back after walking a season-high five in six innings of a 7-1 loss to the Cubs on Sunday. Vazquez also yielded four earned runs and five hits to fall to 0-3 with a 5.62 ERA in his last seven starts against them.The Cubs will counter with Sean Gallagher (3-3, 3.97), who hasn't pitched since June 19 as manager Lou Piniella juggled his rotation after Monday's off day, according to the team's official Web site.The right-hander is 0-2 with a 2.81 ERA in his last three starts -- all on the road, where he is 0-3 with a 4.38 ERA in six games. He gave up an unearned run and four hits over six innings, but didn't receive a decision in an 8-3 loss at Tampa Bay in his most recent appearance.Each of Gallagher's last two outings have come in interleague play, where he is 0-1 with a 2.38 ERA in three career games.This will be his first appearance versus the White Sox.