White Sox-Royals Preview

(AP) — While the Chicago White Sox
have a slight lead in the AL Central, they continue to struggle against
the Kansas City Royals.

The White Sox will try to avoid a
fourth straight loss to the host Royals on Saturday night when the teams
play the middle contest of a weekend set.

Chicago fell to 4-6 against Kansas
City this year after a 4-2 defeat Friday, when Salvador Perez’s two-run
double in the seventh inning proved decisive.

Paul Konerko, who returned after missing the previous eight games with a mild concussion, homered for Chicago.

“When you take nine or ten days off it seems like a month, but I felt good,” he said.

The White Sox (65-53), who had won
three straight overall entering this series, are averaging 2.9 runs in
the season series against the Royals (52-66), totaling five runs in the
last three games between the clubs. They haven’t dropped four in a row
to Kansas City since 2009.

With Friday’s loss, Chicago’s division lead dwindled to 1 1/2 games over second-place Detroit.

The White Sox should like their
chances Saturday with Jake Peavy (9-8, 3.04 ERA) on the mound, but
they’ll need to give him better support.

The right-hander is 3-7 in his last 11
starts. He’s allowed three runs or fewer in eight of those games, but
Chicago has scored an average of 2.9 runs for him over that stretch.

“For one reason or another, we don’t
seem to score too much for him,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He always
goes out there knowing each pitch can cost him. We need to do a better
job of giving him more room to pitch with.”

Peavy gave up two runs and five hits
in eight innings of Monday’s 11-inning, 3-2 loss at Toronto. In his
previous outing, he lost to Kansas City on Aug. 7 after allowing three
runs in 6 2-3 innings.

Peavy has dropped five straight
decisions over six starts against the Royals while recording a 5.63 ERA.
At Kauffman Stadium on July 14, he allowed six runs and 12 hits – two
homers – in seven innings of a 6-3 loss.

Royals slugger Billy Butler is 10 for
25 with three homers against Peavy. Butler homered Friday, extending
his home hitting streak against the White Sox to 15 games. He’s batting
.361 during that stretch and has three homers in the last four overall
meetings between these teams.

The Royals are 10-6 in August after going 7-19 in July.

On Saturday, they’ll turn to Bruce
Chen (8-10, 5.56), who is 4-1 with a 2.79 ERA in his last eight outings
against the White Sox.

Although Chicago tagged him for six
runs and three homers in 4 2-3 innings in July, the left-hander held the
White Sox to two runs over 6 2-3 innings of the Aug. 7 victory opposite
Peavy.

Chen wasn’t as sharp against
Baltimore on Sunday, allowing four runs and four hits, including two
homers, in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-3 loss.

Royals second baseman Chris Getz
suffered a broken left thumb Friday and will miss the rest of the
season. To take his spot, Kansas City called up Johnny Giavotella, who
hit .217 in 21 games in his last recall.