Royals-White Sox Preview

If the Chicago White Sox are going to challenge for the AL

Central title, they’ll likely have to start playing better at home.

They can follow the lead of Adam Dunn, who has found his hitting

stroke at U.S. Cellular Field after a slow start there.

Dunn and the White Sox go for a third straight victory when they

take on the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.

Chicago (15-17) went 36-45 on the South Side last season – when

it finished 16 games out of first place – and it’s been no better

at home this year, dropping nine of 14.

“To be a good team, you have to play well at home,” Dunn told

the White Sox’s official website following an 8-1 victory at

Cleveland on Wednesday. “Hopefully, we can start doing that Friday

and keep the momentum going.”

Dunn hit a team-best three home runs on the just-completed 3-4

trip, and his recent success at home appears to give him a good

chance to keep his own momentum going. The veteran slugger has

batted .385 (5 for 13) with three homers and five RBIs in his last

four home games after hitting .194 with no homers in his first 10

at U.S. Cellular Field in 2012.

Dunn needs one home run to match last year’s total of 11.

“I don’t feel bad, but I don’t feel like I’m on fire by any

means,” said Dunn, who will tie former White Sox catcher Carlton

Fisk for 68th all-time (376) with his next homer.

Though he can match that record Friday, Dunn is also one game

shy of becoming the second player since 1921 to strike out in 37

consecutive contests. Pitcher Bill Stoneman struck out in 37

straight spanning the 1971 and ’72 seasons.

Dunn is 2 for 8 with a homer off Felipe Paulino (1-0, 0.00 ERA),

scheduled to make his second start of the season Friday. The

right-hander came off the disabled list to throw six shutout

innings in a 5-1 victory over New York on Saturday.

The Royals (11-19) will be going for a third straight victory

after defeating Boston 4-3 on Wednesday. Kansas City is 8-5 since a

12-game losing streak.

“That’s the first time in a long time I felt like we were firing

on all cylinders,” manager Ned Yost told the Royals’ official

website after the win over the Red Sox.

It could be tough for the Royals to match their longest winning

streak of the season as they’ll face Gavin Floyd (2-3, 3.03) in the

series opener. The right-hander has posted a 1.71 ERA in his last

three starts, striking out 21 and walking three.

Floyd has gone 2-1 with a 2.76 ERA in his last four outings

versus Kansas City.

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, batting .111 in the past 11

games, was not in the lineup for the first time this season

Wednesday. He should start Friday after coming in as a defensive

replacement in the finale against Boston.

Hosmer hit .344 with three homers and six RBIs against Chicago

last season.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas is expected to start Friday after

sitting out the last game with a sore hamstring. He batted .125 (4

for 32) as the Royals took five of nine at U.S. Cellular Field in

2011.

Royals second baseman Johnny Giavotella, called up from Triple-A

Omaha on Wednesday, hit .421 (8 for 19) in five games at Chicago

last season.

White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko had team highs of five

homers and 14 RBIs in the 2011 season series, but Chicago dropped

11 of 18.