White Sox-Royals Preview
After a dormant first two games from the Kansas City Royals’ hitters, they broke out to deliver the club’s first victory of the season in the home opener.
They’ll look for a repeat performance Saturday when they meet the Chicago White Sox, though starter John Danks has never lost to Kansas City in his career.
The Royals totaled four runs and 13 hits while dropping their first two games in Detroit, failing to support solid starts from James Shields and Jason Vargas. Though they remained homerless Friday, they matched those 13 hits in a 7-5 win over the White Sox (2-2).
Four players recorded at least two hits, including Lorenzo Cain, who drove in a pair of runs. Alex Gordon had a bases-clearing double in the first inning as Kansas City tallied four runs and six hits in the first two innings.
Omar Infante and Norichika Aoki, in their first seasons with the Royals, each had three hits after going a combined 2 for 17 in the first two games.
"That’s why we made those additions, guys who can get on base and put the ball in play," manager Ned Yost said. "… It was a good offensive day for us."
They’ll now be up against Danks (4-14, 4.75 ERA), who tied for the majors’ second-lowest winning percentage in 2013 but also received an average of 3.25 runs of support – 2.69 in losses. Six of his defeats were quality starts.
However, Danks won his only start versus the Royals, limiting them to seven hits over eight innings in a 2-0 road win Aug. 20. He’s 6-0 with a 2.47 ERA in 13 starts against Kansas City.
The White Sox are looking for better performances against AL Central foes after going 26-50 in such matchups in 2013. Houston and the Cubs were the only other teams with worse divisional records at 25-51.
Chicago’s offense is off to a strong start, with Friday marking the first time it failed to register at least 11 hits, though it managed nine. Tyler Flowers went 3 for 4 after going 4 for 4 in Thursday’s 10-9 loss to Minnesota.
Rookie Jose Abreu cooled off, going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts after starting 5 for 12 with five RBIs in the first three games. Alejandro De Aza was also 0 for 4 after entering with three homers.
The White Sox will dig in Saturday against Bruce Chen (9-4, 3.27), who had a 5.73 ERA in his final nine starts last season. However, the left-hander is 7-2 with a 2.82 ERA in his last 13 starts against Chicago.
Paul Konerko may be in line for his first start of the season for Chicago, as he’s likely to get the majority of his playing time against left-handed starters. He went 1 for 2 in two pinch-hit appearances in the series against Minnesota and is 12 for 49 (.245) with five home runs and two doubles off Chen.
Chicago had won six of seven in Kansas City prior to Friday.