Royals-White Sox Preview
(AP) -- The Kansas City Royals dominated Chicago in 2012 and aided in the White Sox's late collapse that cost them the AL Central title.
Chicago has sent an early message, and it looks to complete a season-opening three-game sweep of Kansas City on Thursday.
The White Sox led the division for 117 days last year before a 2-10 slide in late September dropped them three games behind Detroit. The Royals handed Chicago the first two of those losses, capping a 12-6 record in the season series.
Things have been much different so far in 2013.
Chicago beat the visiting Royals 1-0 in Monday's opener before coming away with a 5-2 victory Wednesday. Kansas City has a total of 12 hits - two for extra bases - while the White Sox have hit five homers.
"They have a great team. They have a great bunch of guys, and they play hard," Chicago starter Jake Peavy said after allowing one earned run in six innings Wednesday. "That team is scrappy. ... It's nice to come out (against) a team that's had our number as a team and play well."
The Royals are 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position and have left 14 on base, but White Sox manager Robin Ventura doesn't believe those struggles will continue.
"They're a good team," he said. "I don't think they're going to lay down."
Gavin Floyd will take the mound for Chicago after finishing last season in strong fashion. The right-hander went 12-11 with a 4.29 ERA in 29 starts, but he posted a 3-1 record and 2.52 ERA over his last four outings.
Floyd also had success against the Royals, winning both starts with a 1.23 ERA. He's 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his last six starts versus Kansas City after going 1-7 with a 5.53 ERA in his first nine.
Jeremy Guthrie gets the ball as he begins his first full season with the Royals. The right-hander went 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 starts after being acquired from Colorado on July 19.
He was 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA in his final 11, starting with a 2-1 win at Chicago on Aug. 8. Guthrie faced the White Sox four times in the last two months of the season, going 1-0 with a 0.30 ERA while striking out 19 and walking two in 29 2-3 innings.
He was rewarded with a $25 million, three-year contract Nov. 20.
"Jeremy pitched very well for us," general manager Dayton Moore said. "He's someone we liked a great deal. We feel he can give us innings, give us consistency and everything you want in a starting pitcher."
Chicago hasn't swept a three-game set from Kansas City since July 9-11, 2010, and it will be trying to open with three straight wins for the first time since 1992.
The Royals, who haven't started 0-3 since losing their first four in 2001, had won 22 of 33 against the White Sox entering this season.
"We're still just getting our feet wet together," third baseman Mike Moustakas said. "This is game number two of the year. We went up against Chris Sale and Jake Peavy. Those are two pretty tough guys to go up against."