The Chicago White Sox have been a thorn in the side of Kansas City despite spending the majority of the season in last place in the American League Central, and it doesn’t appear the Royals’ desperation to remain in the wild-card chase is changing anything in that regard. The Royals hope to keep their fading playoff hopes alive Saturday when they meet the White Sox for the second of three games in Chicago.
Kansas City squandered an early four-run lead by giving up five runs in the fourth inning Friday, and the Royals hit into a game-ending double play when Whit Merrifield was thrown out at home trying to score the tying run from second base moments before Lorenzo Cain was erased trying to advance to second on his single. The sequence ended the Royals’ modest two-game winning streak and left the club 4 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the second and final wild-card slot in the AL. Meanwhile, the White Sox’s second straight victory allowed them to move past Detroit and out of the basement in the Central for the first time since before the All-Star break. Chicago also improved to 9-8 against the Royals and have won five of the seven meetings this season at Guaranteed Rate Field.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, WGN (Chicago)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals LH Danny Duffy (8-9, 3.71 ERA) vs. White Sox RH Dylan Covey (0-6, 8.18)
Duffy returned from a near month-long absence due to a knee injury to take the loss at Cleveland on Sunday despite yielding only two runs (one earned) on one hit while striking out eight across five frames. The 28-year-old California native is 4-5 with a 4.14 ERA in 13 road turns but has been exceptional all season against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .160 average. Duffy has been roughed up and lost each of his three starts this season against Chicago, posting a 9.56 ERA against the White Sox.
Covey will make his 17th big-league appearance and 11th career start Saturday in search of his first victory after surrendering five runs on seven hits and four walks over 3 2/3 innings in a loss at Detroit on Sunday. The 26-year-old University of San Diego product was only marginally better five days earlier in a setback versus the Royals, permitting four runs over 5 2/3 frames. Covey also took a loss when he faced the Royals on May 1, giving up six runs across 6 2/3 innings.
1. With one more win this weekend, the White Sox can take the season series from the Royals for the first time since 2010.
2. Royals 3B Mike Moustakas went 0-for-4 on Friday to remain stuck with a club-record 37 homers, one shy of the most ever by a Kansas City player (Bob Cerv hit 38 for the Kansas City Athletics in 1958).
3. Chicago SS Tim Anderson committed his major-league leading 27th error Friday, but he also went 1-for-3 at the plate to extend his career-best hitting streak to 13 games.
PREDICTION: Royals 6, White Sox 2