Royals get a chance to make up ground on Central-leading Sox
Following back-to-back winning home series, the Kansas City Royals feel good about themselves as they try to end their struggles on the road.
The Chicago White Sox hope halting their longest slide of the young season is the beginning of a run in the positive direction.
Though Jose Quintana and his AL-low ERA stand in the way, the visiting Royals look to continue their progress Friday night against the Central Division-leading White Sox.
Kansas City (20-20) has dropped 12 of 15 on the road but opens this six-game trip after going 4-2 against Atlanta and Boston at Kauffman Stadium.
"It makes us feel like we’re getting on the right track and looking forward going to Chicago," said manager Ned Yost, whose club sits third in the Central, 4 1/2 games behind the White Sox.
Kansas City won three in a row before falling 5-2 in the nightcap of Wednesday’s doubleheader with the Red Sox.
Eric Hosmer went 0 for 4 in that contest but is batting .363 on the road this season. He’s hit .375 with two home runs and five RBIs in his last five games at U.S. Cellular Field, where the Royals have won 21 of 28.
Hosmer, though, is 10 for 50 with two homers and 11 strikeouts against Quintana (5-2, 1.54 ERA). Salvador Perez is hitting .378 with two home runs in 45 at-bats against the left-hander.
Though Quintana’s stretch of four straight winning starts ended Saturday at Yankee Stadium, he yielded both runs in the second inning and lasted seven in the 2-1 defeat.
"He had one inning that ends up tripping him up, but he’s sharp as usual," manager Robin Ventura said. "That’s just what you expect out of him.
"Stuff like that is going to happen. It doesn’t change anything for him. He’s still going to be a great pitcher, and he’s going to give you the same effort the next time out."
Quintana is 1-6 with a 4.27 ERA in 18 starts against the Royals, but that victory came in his only decision over six matchups in 2015.
He’ll look to help Chicago (25-16) build on Thursday’s 2-1 win over Houston that snapped its four-game losing streak. Ace Chris Sale recorded his third complete game this season to become the first pitcher since 2008 to win his first nine starts.
It was Chicago’s second win in eight games.
"9-0 is cool," Sale said. "I enjoy it. I enjoy snapping the skid we were in even more so than that."
The White Sox get their first look at Dillon Gee (0-1, 3.12), who allowed three runs, six hits and walked three in 5 1/3 innings of his first start since June 14 in Saturday’s 5-0 loss to the Braves. Gee, who took Chris Young’s spot in the rotation, made seven relief appearances before getting the chance to start.
"I was (accustomed to starting), but I was earning a role down in the bullpen and doing good down there," said Gee, who was almost exclusively a starter in his six seasons with the New York Mets.
"I got the opportunity to start and we’ll just go from there."
Ex-Phillie Jimmy Rollins is 14 for 31 with two homers against Gee. Former Red Todd Frazier also went deep for one of his three hits in six at-bats against the right-hander.