After snapping an eight-game losing streak, the White Sox look to move out of a tie with the Royals for last place in the AL Central when these clubs continue their series on Tuesday night.
Chicago (55-69) ended its longest losing streak since May 2001 with a 4-3 win over Kansas City (55-69) on Monday night. A loss would have given the White Sox nine straight defeats for the first time since Aug. 19-28, 1991.
“It feels weird. I forgot the last time we shook hands. I forgot what to do, I was confused,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.
Chicago was alone at the bottom of the AL Central before the game, but is now tied with a Kansas City team that is trying to avoid a fourth straight last-place finish.
“When you don’t win your division, you didn’t have a good year,” White Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye said.
The White Sox are struggling through their worst season since going 69-92 in 1989, but continue to find ways to beat the lowly Royals. Chicago is 7-2 against Kansas City this season, and has won six straight season series between the teams.
But Javier Vazquez (10-6, 3.74 ERA), who will start for the White Sox on Tuesday, has struggled against the Royals, going 2-5 with a 4.81 ERA in 12 starts. That includes an 0-1 mark and 6.75 ERA in two outings this year.
Vazquez, though, is 4-1 with a 2.66 ERA and two complete games in his last five starts at home, holding opponents to a .208 batting average. He was on the road in his last start, allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings of an 8-5, 10-inning loss to Oakland on Thursday.
Bobby Jenks, who has gotten a save in each of Vazquez’s last four starts, failed to break the major league record for consecutive batters retired Monday. The right-hander, who tied Jim Barr’s mark of 41 for San Francisco in 1972 last Sunday, gave up a single to Joey Gathright to lead off the ninth before getting three outs for his 34th save in 39 chances.
Jenks has been one of the few consistent options out of the bullpen this season for the White Sox, who tried to give their closer some help by signing Mike Myers to a contract Monday, two weeks after the New York Yankees cut the submarining left-hander. Myers, who was 3-0 with a 2.66 ERA in 55 games this season, is expected to be a situational left-hander.
White Sox pitchers will be facing a Royals lineup which has scored a total of four runs en route to two straight losses. Kansas City won its previous three games, scoring six runs or more in each contest.
Emil Brown had a strong day at the plate for the Royals on Monday, going 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. Brown is 4-for-11 (.364) with two home runs and five RBIs in his last three starts.
Brown played in right field for Mark Teahen, who has missed two straight games due to a hyperextended left elbow.
“He needs to get it stretched out,” Royals manager Buddy Bell told the team’s official Web site. “He’ll be able to play (Tuesday night).”
Leo Nunez (2-0, 1.96 ERA) will get the ball Tuesday for Kansas City after his last start was cut short due to a callous on his right thumb. The right-hander gave up a run and four hits in three innings before leaving, and the Royals went on to beat Texas 6-2 on Thursday night.
Nunez, a converted reliever who will be making his fifth major league start, has a 1.50 ERA without a decision in five relief appearances against the White Sox.