Royals-White Sox Preview

The Chicago White Sox have played the fewest intradivisional

games in the majors, but that will change over the next three

weeks.

The White Sox begin a stretch of 19 straight against their AL

Central rivals starting Monday when they open a three-game home set

against the Kansas City Royals.

Chicago (42-43) is 6-11 against its division, yet is in third

place and only 3 1/2 games behind first-place Cleveland.

“You take control in your division by beating your division,”

reliever Matt Thornton told the White Sox’s official website. “It’s

coming our way now and it’s just a matter of us taking advantage of

the situation.”

Chicago failed to move over .500 for the first time since April

15 after losing 3-1 to the Cubs on Sunday. The White Sox had won

four straight, but recorded just four hits in each of the last two

games, including a 1-0 win Saturday.

Chicago has won five of eight despite averaging 2.9 runs during

that stretch.

“We’ve been winning a lot of games, but in the meanwhile, we

wish our offense would start putting some numbers out there to make

it a little bit easier for the pitchers,” manager Ozzie Guillen

said.

Mark Buehrle (6-5, 3.65 ERA) will take the mound Monday, looking

to win his fifth straight decision at home. He has a 2.68 ERA in

seven starts at U.S. Cellular Field this season.

The left-hander gave up two solo home runs in seven innings of a

3-2 win at Colorado on Wednesday, but he didn’t factor in the

decision.

Buehrle is 21-11 in his career against the Royals, his

second-most victories against any team, but he also failed to

receive a decision April 6 against them after allowing five runs in

five innings of a 10-7, 12-inning victory.

Melky Cabrera is 10 for 17 against Buehrle with two doubles and

one home run.

Cabrera homered twice and drove in five runs as Kansas City

(34-50) tied a team record with 12 extra-base hits in a 16-8 win

over Colorado on Sunday. Cabrera is hitting .364 the last seven

games.

The Royals, who snapped a five-game losing streak during which

they totaled 12 runs, had averaged 3.1 runs in losing 11 of their

previous 13.

“We’ve got an offense that’s pretty good,” Jeff Francoeur said.

“We can score some runs, but the last two weeks we’ve

struggled.”

Alex Gordon, had four hits, including a home run, but left after

getting hit by a pitch on the left knee. He said he’s doubtful for

Monday.

Both Gordon and Chicago’s Paul Konerko could still be voted onto

the AL All-Star teams via the internet. Konerko has a 12-game

hitting streak against the Royals, batting .388 with four

homers.

Jeff Francis (3-9, 4.79) will try to slow down Konerko as he

attempts to avoid losing his fourth straight start.

The left-hander has a 7.04 ERA in the last three and allowed

four runs in five innings of a 4-3 loss to San Diego last

Monday.

Francis is 0-1 with a 5.30 ERA against the White Sox. He opposed

Buehrle in April, giving up two runs in 6 2-3 innings.

Chicago has won six of seven at home between the two.