White Sox-Royals Preview

After a successful stretch without their captain, the Chicago

White Sox will have Paul Konerko back in the lineup to start the

weekend, although he hasn’t been much help against the Kansas City

Royals this year.

Konerko and the White Sox will look to start playing better

against the Royals, who host a three-game AL Central series

beginning Friday night.

Chicago hit five home runs, including a three-run shot by Alex

Rios in the eighth, for a 7-2 win over Toronto on Thursday, taking

three of four games from the Blue Jays. The White Sox have hit 28

homers in their last 13 games.

“Given the time of year and the situation we’re in where every

game means so much, to come in here and win three out of four is

huge,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.

Central-leading Chicago (65-52) improved to 5-3 without Konerko,

who was placed on the 7-day concussion list last Friday after being

elbowed in the head Aug. 7 by Kansas City’s Jarrod Dyson on a play

at first base.

Konerko is the designated hitter and batting cleanup for this

game.

However, he is hitting .161 with one homer and two RBIs in eight

games against the Royals this season as the White Sox have gone 4-5

versus the fourth-place club in their own division.

Kansas City won two of three in Chicago last week, although the

White Sox did take two of three at Kauffman Stadium in July.

Chicago is averaging 3.0 runs and hitting .236 against the

Royals this year. Besides Konerko’s struggles, Alexei Ramirez is

hitting .125 (4 for 32) against them while Kevin Youkilis is 2 for

20.

Youkilis enters the weekend one hit shy of 1,000 in his career

while Adam Dunn remains stuck on 399 career homers after going 0

for 2 on Thursday.

The White Sox will go for their fourth straight win Friday when

they hand the ball to Chris Sale (14-3, 2.60 ERA), who is also

riding a personal three-game winning streak.

Sale struck out 11 and gave up two runs on a pair of homers over

6 2-3 innings of a 7-3 victory over Oakland on Sunday. The

left-hander is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA in three starts against the

Royals this year, winning the last two.

Kansas City second baseman Chris Getz is 6 for 11 against Sale,

while designated hitter Billy Butler is 5 for 14 with two

homers.

Kansas City (51-66) failed to complete a three-game sweep of the

Athletics this week, dropping the finale 3-0 on Thursday.

Probable Royals starter Luis Mendoza (6-8, 4.37) will oppose

Sale for the third time this season. He was on the losing end of

both of Sale’s victories over Kansas City, yielding a total of six

runs over 14 2-3 innings.

Mendoza also earned a win over the White Sox in May with 5 2-3

innings of one-run relief.

Mendoza is looking to win back-to-back starts for the first time

in 2012. The right-hander allowed three runs in six innings of a

7-3 victory over Baltimore on Saturday.