The White Sox have won eight straight home games against the Royals, including all six this season. Chicago captured the first 10 meetings between the teams this season before Kansas City posted back-to-back home wins on July 26-27.
Chicago posted a 5-3 victory at Boston in a makeup game from a contest postponed due to rain on Aug. 14. The White Sox weren’t excited about having to break up a 10-game homestand for the trip to Boston, but came away with an important win that stretched their lead over the Red Sox to five games for home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.
“I told my players, ‘Don’t just come here and play the game just to fill out the schedule,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “It’s a big game for us.”
”(The) bottom line is no one really wanted to play the game,” Konerko said. “It’s the not the best thing to do in the middle of homestand to hop on a plane to Boston, but the fact is we had to play it and everyone showed up. And more than anybody today, our starting pitcher was phenomenal, and that’s the story. He just set the tone, put up zeros and kicked everyone in gear.”
Chicago’s Orlando Hernandez may be pitching for a spot in the postseason rotation. Hernandez, who has a 9-3 career mark in the playoffs, is 0-4 with a 5.63 ERA over his last five outings and fellow Cuban Jose Contreras is 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his last five starts.
It looks like it will come down to Contreras and Hernandez for the fourth starter in the playoffs behind Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia and Jon Garland. Hernandez was tagged for six runs and six hits over five innings in a 9-2 loss at Texas last Wednesday.
“I don’t understand,” Hernandez said. “I had control of the game. I’m only human, but I made a lot of mistakes. They’ve got good hitters and every hit was off my mistakes.”
Hernandez is 3-1 with a 3.58 in eight career starts against Kansas City.
Kansas City slugger Mike Sweeney has missed the last seven games due to back problems and is listed as day to day. Sweeney has enjoyed tremendous success against Chicago this season, batting .412 (14-for-34) with 12 RBIs in nine games.
The Royals have dropped 15 of their last 17 road games and are 15-36 against Central division opponents.