During a 1-7 stretch earlier this month, the Chicago White Sox and their pitching staff appeared to be unraveling.
With three straight series wins, though, they’re starting to straighten things out.
Chicago looks to continue its improved play Friday night at Kauffman Stadium as it opens a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals.
The White Sox (21-25) open the second leg of their six-game trip after taking two of three from the Los Angeles Angels. They have six wins in nine games since the ugly eight-game stretch.
Chicago couldn’t complete a sweep Wednesday, falling 3-1.
“Anytime you come here it’s a gamble,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “It’s just not easy to go out and win two out of three.”
The White Sox, though, have done just that in their last three series, besting Minnesota and Pittsburgh in three-game sets prior to facing the Angels.
Since the starters went 0-5 with a 7.88 ERA from May 10-18, they are 6-2 with a 1.92 ERA in nine games. Clayton Richard(notes) (1-0, 3.55 ERA) has helped, going 1-0 with a 2.76 ERA in three starts since taking the struggling Jose Contreras’(notes) spot in the rotation.
“It’s just a matter of preference,” Richard said. “Wherever you can help out the most is where you’ll be and I’m all for that.”
Richard makes his second career start against Kansas City. He allowed career highs of nine runs and 11 hits in a 14-3 loss to the Royals on Aug. 3.
Kansas City (23-24) could certainly use that kind of offensive production right now. The Royals have averaged 2.6 runs and batted .218 while losing six of eight.
They dropped two of three to AL Central-leading Detroit in their last series.
Handing the ball to Brian Bannister(notes) (4-1, 2.79 ERA) should give Kansas City a good chance to at least keep pace, as the Royals are 6-1 in his starts this season. The right-hander struck out four and yielded two runs in six innings of Sunday’s 3-2 victory over St. Louis.
Bannister, though, is 0-2 with a 10.48 ERA in his last five starts versus the White Sox.
Royals manager Trey Hillman returns Friday after serving a one-game suspension for a confrontation with the umpire in Monday’s 13-1 loss to the Tigers.
Kansas City has won four of five versus Chicago this season.