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Friday, June 13, 2014
Series preview: Royals at White Sox

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO – It is still hard to tell what Chicago White Sox team will show up on a nightly basis, the one that can slug and pitch its way to victory or the one that can be controlled by an ideal game plan.

On Thursday night it was the latter, although there is no shame in getting shut down by Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers, who pitched his team to a 4-0 victory.

The White Sox might not be facing anybody the caliber of Scherzer in the upcoming series against the Kansas City Royals, but they have matchups ahead against a pair of proven veterans in Jeremy Guthrie and James Shields.

The White Sox offense might get handcuffed on occasion, like it was against the Los Angeles Angels last weekend, but their games remain competitive. That credit goes to the pitching staff, especially from a bullpen that has been solid over the last month now that roles are clearly defined.

Overlooked in the pitching success has been a solid defense behind the pitchers. Corner outfielders Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo might not rate as defensive assets, but up the middle with shortstop Alexei Ramirez, second baseman Gordon Beckham and center fielder Adam Eaton the White Sox have been stingy.

“We owe it to (the pitchers) to be there every single pitch because they are putting their blood and sweat into every single pitch and for us to be on our toes behind him it shows we appreciate what they are doing,” Eaton said. “We have to continue to play good defense behind them.”

HEAD TO HEAD



The Royals’ Eric Hosmer is just 2-for-24 (.083) in his career against White Sox starter Jose Quintana. … Hector Noesi has just three innings pitched vs. the Royals in his career, the lowest amount against any American League team. … Andre Rienzo's 18 innings pitched against the Royals are his most against any team. The Royals are also the only team he has more than one victory against. … Viciedo is only 4-for-22 (.182) against Guthrie, and Ramirez is just 7-for-42 (.167). … White Sox players have combined for just 12 at-bats against Royals starter Danny Duffy, and Ramirez has the only hit, a single. … Beckham is 9-for-29 (.310) against Shields with two home runs, while Ramirez is 19-for-45 (.422) against the right-hander and also has two home runs.

NOTES



Quintana does not have a victory in nine career starts against the Royals, going 0-4 with a 4.06 ERA. … The White Sox are 5-1 in their last six games against American League Central opponents after losing Thursday’s game to the Tigers. … White Sox starters have a 3.02 ERA in 21 games since May 20. … Ramirez’s double Thursday was his first extra-base hit since May 23 against the New York Yankees. … Beckham is 8-for-20 (.400) during his current five-game hitting streak. … The White Sox are 16-12 against division teams this season after going 26-50 against them last season … Guthrie won his first two starts for the Royals this season and hasn’t won in 11 starts since. … The Royals might have a dismal .360 slugging percentage, last in the AL, but they have been swinging the bats better of late, scoring at least six runs six times in the last 13 games when they have gone 9-4.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

FRIDAY: LH Jose Quintana (3-6, 3.59 ERA) vs. RH Jeremy Guthrie (2-6, 4.10), 7:10 p.m. CST
SATURDAY: RH Hector Noesi (2-4, 5.40) vs. LH Danny Duffy (3-5, 3.26), 1:10 p.m. CST
SUNDAY: RH Andre Rienzo (4-3, 5.25) vs. RH James Shields (7-3, 3.44), 1:10 p.m. CST