Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was upset earlier this month when he felt Kansas City Royals pitchers were targeting his hitters. Guillen, however, has bigger things to worry about now as the Royals come to town.
Chicago tries to move back into first place in the AL Central on Tuesday when it opens a three-game home series against the Royals.
The White Sox (65-62), who dropped a half-game behind Minnesota after Monday’s 5-1 defeat to Boston, lost two of three to the Royals from Aug. 1-3 - a series that included a testy 14-3 finale.
In the fifth inning of that game, Kansas City catcher Miguel Olivo was hit by a pitch from Chicago reliever D.J. Carrasco. Olivo charged the mound, touching off a bench-clearing brawl that led to Olivo, Carrasco and Guillen being ejected.
Olivo and Greinke were each suspended five games. Guillen, penalized for making contact with umpire Tim Timmons and for his postgame comments criticizing the umpires, was suspended two, while Hillman was given one game.
Guillen denied that he had Carrasco intentionally hit Olivo, but said he was frustrated that his players have been hit seven times by Kansas City pitchers this season. White Sox pitchers have hit eight Royals batters.
“Get ready for the warnings,” Guillen told the White Sox’s official Web site after the loss. “I signed a five-year deal with this organization and we play Kansas City a lot. They play with fire. I respect everybody at the pro level. But enough is enough.”
He backed off those comments Monday, however.
“Nothing is going to happen,” said Guillen, who was also fined for his role in the fight and his subsequent comments.
Of larger concern to Guillen is his team’s play of late. The White Sox are 6-9 in their last 15 games and 4-3 on their 10-game homestand.
They looked to be on their way to winning three of four from the Red Sox on Monday as John Danks took a no-hitter into the seventh, but he gave up two runs in that inning and the bullpen surrendered three in the ninth.
Like Guillen, Hillman isn’t worried about any carryover from the teams’ last series.
“I just concentrate on managing our club,” he told the Royals’ Web site. “I let Ozzie manage his (club). We go out and play as hard as we can to try and win the ball game.”
The Royals (54-64) snapped a four-game losing streak Sunday, beating the Twins 5-4 in 12 innings, and will look to build momentum as they open a nine-game road trip. Kansas City has won five in a row on the road - the first two in that stretch coming at U.S. Cellular Field on July 19 and 20.
Brian Bannister (7-10, 5.37 ERA), loser of his last four decisions, takes the ball for the Royals on Tuesday. He pitched four innings last Tuesday against Boston, allowing three runs in four innings of an 8-2 defeat.
Since a June 23 win over Colorado, the right-hander has an 8.02 ERA over his last seven starts.
Bannister is 2-1 with a 7.44 ERA in seven starts versus the White Sox, and 0-0 with a 9.31 ERA in two starts against them this season.
Javier Vazquez (8-10, 4.74) counters for Chicago. Vazquez pitched seven innings Thursday against Detroit, giving up five runs and eight hits in an 8-3 loss. The right-hander has dropped five of his last six decisions, the only win during that span coming Aug. 1 against the Royals, when he allowed two runs in six innings of a 4-2 victory.
Vazquez is 7-2 with a 3.24 ERA in 12 starts versus Kansas City.