While it's too early in the season for a make it or break it week, this upcoming week of games is important for both the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. Key opponents, west coast trips and the beginning of interleague play means that what happens this next week can impact the rest of the season.
The Cubs week starts with a 3-game series with the team that swept them from the playoffs last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Coming back from a poor road trip, the Cubs are going to need a solid weekend series to help boost them back toward the top of the division and help prove that the recent stretch was just some bad luck and not something to expect the rest of the season. Unfortunately, they need to rebound against the team with the best record in baseball and will be facing one of the Diamondbacks Aces', Dan Haren. After the Diamondbacks, they get the San Diego Padres, the last place team in the NL west. And for all intents and purposes, a team they should beat up on pretty big. The 4 games series will include Michael Barrett coming back to town to take on his former team and will include a game with former Cub Greg Maddux pitching one of the games. The Cubs wrap up the 10 game home stand with a series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team that the Cubs must beat in order to continue to stay at the top of the division lead.
The southsiders have a 10 game west coast swing, including 3 games at the end against the San Francisco Giants and former Sox player Aaron Rowand. But first, they must play against the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, two teams the White Sox have not fared well against away from U.S. Cellular. If the White Sox really do believe that they are contenders for the A.L. Central this year, this trip will help prove that they are.