American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, August 22nd
(All times Eastern)
Chicago White Sox (51-74) at Kansas City Royals (64-61), 8:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Jose Quintana (7-4, 3.66)
Kansas City - James Shields (8-8, 3.19)
(Sports Network) - Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler disputes that
his club is going through a tough stretch, but losses in seven of the Royals'
last nine games has the squad falling back in the playoff race.
The Royals hope to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Chicago White
Sox in Thursday night's finale.
Kansas City put itself into the playoff picture by winning 19 of its first 24
games after the All-Star break, but is just 2-7 since and is now 9 1/2 games
back of first place in the AL Central and 6 1/2 contests off the pace in the
wild card race.
The Royals have been held to just two runs in the first two contests of this
series, plating both in last night's 5-2 loss. Both runs came after the White
Sox went ahead with a five-run fourth inning, keyed by Dayan Viciedo's grand
Jeremy Guthrie allowed five runs on nine hits over six innings for Kansas
City, which has dropped four consecutive tilts.
"We're above .500. In May, we weren't even close. We just played a couple bad
games," Butler said. "If you looked seven games ago, you wouldn't even be
having these questions. It's not a tough stretch just judging off seven games.
That's just how it is."
For the White Sox, they have ripped off a season-high five straight wins and
saw Andre Rienzo pick up his first career victory. The Brazilian-born righty
allowed two runs on five hits and three walks over six innings.
Addison Reed fired a 1-2-3 ninth to notch his 33rd save of the season and was
happy to be a part of history.
"It's awesome that I was able to get the save for him," Reed said of helping
Rienzo. "Any time I go out there I'm trying to finish the ballgame with a win
and today was extra special because of the fact that (Rienzo) was the first
Brazilian pitcher to get a win."
The Royals had won four straight over the White Sox before this series and the
clubs have now split the season matchup, 7-7.
The White Sox are looking to sweep the Royals in three games for the first
time since July 9-11, 2010 in Chicago and in Kansas City for the first time
since May 29-31 the previous year. Handed that task will be left-hander Jose
Quintana has split his last two starts, both against Minnesota, and is coming
off Friday's 5-2 road win over the Twins. He allowed two runs on six hits and
two walks, fanning seven over 6 2/3 innings.
"He gutted it out," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of his starter. "He
went extra long for us tonight."
The 24-year-old is 7-4 with a 3.66 ERA in 25 starts this season and 0-2
lifetime versus the Royals with a 3.96 ERA in six meetings.
Kansas City counters with right-hander James Shields, who has won two straight
and four of his past five starts with two scoreless outings in that span.
That includes Friday at Detroit, where he scattered three hits and four walks
over seven frames of a 3-0 triumph in the nightcap of a doubleheader.
Shields also hurled seven scoreless frames at Chicago on July 26, improving to
1-1 with a 1.73 ERA in four starts versus the White Sox this year.
The 31-year-old's current surge has pushed his record to 8-8 with a 3.19 ERA
in 26 starts this year, the first time he has not had a losing record since he
was 2-2 back on May 6.
08/22 10:31:25 ET