The Kansas City Royals are clinging to American League wild card hopes and cannot afford any more losses. The Royals will try to take advantage of a team well out of the race and earn a series win when they visit the Chicago White Sox for the rubber match of a three-game series on Sunday.
Kansas City squandered a four-run lead in Friday’s series opener but recovered with an 8-2 win on Saturday and sits 4 1/2 games behind the Minnesota Twins in the race for the second AL wild card. “We’ve got to win,” Royals manager Ned Yost told reporters. “(Friday’s loss) made the mountain we’re climbing a lot steeper. Wish we had won that. Minnesota has to next play Cleveland, which is red hot. We just got to win.” The White Sox are a half-game ahead of the Detroit Tigers in the race to stay out of the AL Central basement and just looking for steps forward from young players like Yoan Moncada, who scored at least one run in each of the last five games and nine of 10. Chicago is hoping righty Lucas Giolito is a future cornerstone of the rotation, and he will make the start on Sunday opposite Royals righty Ian Kennedy.
TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, CSN Chicago
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Ian Kennedy (4-12, 5.39 ERA) vs. White Sox RH Lucas Giolito (2-3, 2.58)
Kennedy has not won since July 26 and failed to complete six innings in any of his last six contests. The California native lasted five frames at Toronto on Tuesday, allowing two runs and three hits while absorbing the loss. Kennedy last pitched at Chicago on Aug. 12 and was reached for three runs and seven hits over 6 1/3 innings without factoring in the decision.
Giolito is winless in his last three outings despite surrendering six earned runs in 18 1/3 innings over that span. The 23-year-old scattered two runs and seven hits over 6 2/3 frames at Houston on Tuesday but was stuck with the loss in a 3-1 final. Giolito started at Kansas City on Sept. 13, yielding one run and four hits across 6 1/3 innings without factoring in the decision.
1. White Sox 1B Jose Abreu reached 25 home runs and 100 RBIs for the fourth straight season with a pair of RBIs on Saturday.
2. Kansas City C Salvador Perez is 12-for-26 in his last seven contests.
3. Chicago RF Avisail Garcia is 3-for-18 over his last six games.
PREDICTION: White Sox 5, Royals 2