The Kansas City Royals’ best hope of getting back in the American League Central race might be continuing their hot play against division rivals. The Royals aim for their 10th win in their last 11 contests against AL Central foes when they face the host Chicago White Sox in the rubber match of a three-game series Sunday afternoon.
The Royals snapped a five-game skid with a 5-4 win Saturday, ending Chicago’s four-game winning streak and evening the series at a game apiece. Since opening the season 2-11 inside the Central, Kansas City is 15-7 against division opponents since June 1. Kansas City’s bullpen got the job done Saturday but has recorded only one scoreless game since July 30 and posted an 8.69 ERA over the past six games. Chicago’s youth movement continues to play well, but the bullpen couldn’t hold a lead Saturday as the Royals rallied for their ninth win this season when trailing after seven innings.
TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, WGN (Chicago)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals LH Jason Vargas (13-6, 3.40 ERA) vs. White Sox LH Derek Holland (6-11, 5.25)
Vargas is one win away from tying his career high set in 2012 with Seattle and is on pace for the lowest full-season ERA in his career. The 34-year-old has struggled over his last six outings, though, going 1-3 with a 7.62 ERA after he was tagged for six runs over 4 2/3 innings in a loss to St. Louis on Tuesday. Vargas is 2-3 with a 5.92 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) against the White Sox.
Holland ended a string of nine appearances (eight starts) without a win when he picked up his first victory since June 13 on Tuesday against Houston. The 30-year-old allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings, but he also issued seven walks, an ongoing concern. Holland is 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA in 10 games (eight starts) against the Royals.
1. Kansas City OF Melky Cabrera is 12-for-34 with three homers and 12 RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak and is batting .314 with 13 RBIs in 13 games since being acquired from the White Sox.
2. White Sox OF/DH Nicky Delmonico is 14-for-34 during a nine-game hitting streak and is the first player in franchise history to reach base in each of his first 11 major-league contests.
3. Chicago 1B/DH Jose Abreu homered twice Saturday to become the first White Sox player to start his career with four consecutive 20-homer seasons.
PREDICTION: Royals 7, White Sox 5