|4:10 PM PT5:10 PM MT6:10 PM CT7:10 PM ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 PM MST6:10 PM EST6:40 PM VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 PM CT, August 12, 2017
Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 20,413
Reeling Royals not about to overlook White Sox
Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox
- The White Sox swept the Royals when they last faced them at Guaranteed Rate field in April of this season, outscoring Kansas City 27-8 over the three games; the sweep was Chicago's first versus Kansas City at home since a three-game sweep in July 2010. The Royals swept the White Sox when they last met, from July 21-23 in Kansas City.
- The Royals lost all four of their games versus the Cardinals earlier this week and are now 3-10 since July 29. Kansas City was in the second AL Wild Card spot entering July 29 (2.5 games ahead of the Rays, the next closest team), but is now 1.0 games back of the Rays and Mariners (who are tied) for that second AL Wild Card.
- The White Sox beat the Astros, 3-2, in 11 innings on Thursday to finish off the sweep of Houston, just Chicago's second sweep this season (also April 24-26 versus the Royals) and just the second time the Astros have been swept this year (also May 19-21 versus the Indians).
- Since June 10 of last season, Jose Abreu is batting .362 versus the Royals with 13 multi-hit games. His 13 multi-hit games versus Kansas City are tied for the most multi-hit games by any player versus any AL club over that span (also Abreu versus the Tigers).
- Danny Duffy is 0-2 with an 11.17 ERA in two starts against the White Sox this season, allowing exactly six runs in each start. The Royals lost each of Duffy's first five starts versus AL Central division rivals this season (including his two starts against the White Sox), but have won his two starts versus AL Central teams since the break.
- Reynaldo Lopez is making his first MLB appearance of the season after starting 22 games in the minors this year. Over his last eight minor league starts before his call-up (June 29 and since), Lopez posted a 2.70 ERA and .192 opponent batting average. Lopez made his first 11 career MLB appearances last season for Washington (six starts).
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CHICAGO -- Eight games remain this season between the slumping but contending Kansas City Royals and the rebuilding Chicago White Sox, beginning with Saturday's meeting at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Royals realize as much. They also know Chicago's organizational status guarantees no advantage in Kansas City's bid for an American League playoff berth.
"No, no, no. We are the furthest thing away from taking opponent lightly," Royals catcher Drew Butera said. "They're playing really well right now. They swept Houston, right? Just because they're rebuilding doesn't mean they're a bad team. They've got a lot of talent over there, and we're not going to go in thinking we're going to come in and be easy wins."
White Sox right-hander Chris Beck called Chicago's three-game sweep of American League West-leading Houston this week a "nice little uplift, for sure." The vibes continued during Friday's series opener between the White Sox and Royals, with Chicago winning 6-3 behind a four-run, seventh-inning rally and a solid team debut from right-hander Reynaldo Lopez.
Chicago delivered sound starting pitching, slick defense and timely hitting against the Royals and during the Astros series, which culminated with a walk-off, extra-inning hit from prized prospect Yoan Moncada to win Thursday's series finale.
Was it a potential preview of coming attractions for the White Sox in future seasons? Perhaps. For his part, though, Beck has seen the team transition to a more consistent brand of baseball well before Houston came calling. Even suffering a four-game road sweep against American League East leader Boston last weekend offered bright spots to Beck entering the Astros series.
"We're not that far off from where we want to be," Beck said. "Each team is capable of winning. We stood toe-to-toe and swept one of the best lineups in baseball. We'll get to go there again in September, so, I mean, it'll be fun."
Chicago's visit to Houston from Sept. 19-21 precedes a three-game home series against the Royals from Sept. 22-24. The White Sox and Royals also are set to play in Kansas City from Sept. 11-13.
But first things first. On Saturday, White Sox right-hander James Shields (2-4, 6.03 ERA) will face Royals righty Ian Kennedy (4-8, 4.83 ERA).
Shields is 7-2 with a 4.02 ERA in 12 career starts against the Royals, with 65 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings. Shields spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons with Kansas City, winning 27 regular-season games while helping the club to the American League pennant in 2014.
Kennedy is 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA in seven career starts against the White Sox, with 31 strikeouts and seven home runs allowed in 38 1/3 innings.
Despite losing five in a row and 10 of their past 12 games overall, the Royals remain in the hunt in the jumbled American League Central and wild-card races. Success against the White Sox figures to be pivotal during the stretch run.
It starts with ignoring the same standings Kansas City is trying to climb -- at least to a degree.
"Oh, yeah. You don't take any team for granted, you know, because once you start taking teams for granted, that's when they sneak up on you, and you lose games," Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. "We're all big league ballplayers. We all respect each other."
Updated August 12, 2017