Royals-White Sox Preview

A strong finish at the plate by Brent Morel has the Chicago

White Sox feeling good as they look ahead to 2012.

Morel will try to continue his September power surge when the

White Sox and Kansas City Royals wrap up their season series

Sunday.

Morel homered and drove in two runs during a 6-3 victory

Saturday. He has eight homers in 23 games this month after hitting

two in his first 99 contests.

“I’m not trying to protect so much. That’s been keeping me off

some of the pitcher’s pitches. I’m just trying to get a ball in the

middle of the plate,” said Morel, who has two homers and six RBIs

in his last five matchups with the Royals.

While Morel is closing strongly, Adam Dunn is headed toward a

dubious record.

Dunn hasn’t had a batting average below .215 in any of his first

10 seasons, all in the NL. However, he’s hitting .162 and needs 17

plate appearances in the final four games to become an official

qualifier. The post-1900 record for lowest batting average by a

qualifier is .179 by Detroit’s Rob Deer in 1991.

Dunn is batting .139 (5 for 36) with a homer and four RBIs in 10

games versus the Royals.

With a 7-10 mark, Chicago is assured of its first losing season

against Kansas City since 2000. The White Sox (77-81) need to win

Sunday and sweep Toronto to avoid their third losing record in the

last five years under Ozzie Guillen, whose future with the club is

unclear.

“We got a few games left, hopefully we win the games we have

left,” he said.

Chicago will next face Luis Mendoza (1-0, 1.29 ERA) as he tries

to build off a solid outing in his first major league action in

nearly 1 1/2 years. The right-hander allowed two runs in seven

innings of a 10-2 victory over playoff-bound Detroit on Tuesday,

earning his first win since Aug. 3, 2008, with Texas.

In April of last year, the Royals (69-89) sent Mendoza to the

minors after he surrendered 10 runs and 10 hits in four innings

over four games. He was the Pacific Coast League pitcher of the

year after going 12-5 with a league-best 2.18 ERA for Triple-A

Omaha.

Mendoza is 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in three games – two starts –

against the White Sox.

Looking to avoid finishing with a sub-.500 record for the second

straight season, Gavin Floyd (12-12, 4.46) will take the ball for

the White Sox.

The right-hander has gone 0-2 with a 5.16 ERA in four starts

this month. Floyd suffered his second straight defeat after

yielding four runs and a season-high three homers in a 4-3 loss to

Cleveland on Tuesday.

Floyd took the loss in his only appearance of the season against

the Royals, a 7-6, 12-inning defeat on April 5 at Kauffman Stadium.

He’s 3-7 with a 4.83 ERA in his career versus Kansas City, but 2-3

with a 3.00 ERA in six games – five starts – at U.S. Cellular

Field.

Royals outfielder Melky Cabrera, who needs one hit to reach 200

for the first time in his seven-year career, is hitting .417 (5 for

12) in his career off Floyd.