Kansas City (59-87) at Chicago (72-75)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 8:11 pm EDT Fri Sep 18, 2009
  • TV: FSKC, WCIU
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Kansas City Royals have done their best to help the Chicago White Sox get back into the AL Central race, but the White Sox haven’t taken advantage.

The division rivals open their final series of the season Friday when they begin a three-game set at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Royals (59-87) have won eight of their last 10, with five of the victories coming against Detroit. Kansas City took two of three from the AL Central leaders this week, including a 9-2 victory Thursday at Comerica Park.

Chicago (72-75) failed to take advantage, losing two of three in Seattle to remain 6 1/2 games back of the Tigers. After alternating wins and losses for 10 straight games, the White Sox lost 4-3 in 14 innings Thursday. Closer Bobby Jenks(notes) gave up two homers in the ninth to send the game to extra innings before Scott Linebrink(notes) allowed an RBI single to Ichiro Suzuki(notes) in the 14th.

Chicago faces Detroit six more times before the end of the regular season. The Tigers are playing at second-place Minnesota this weekend.

“If we don’t win games, it doesn’t matter what we tell ourselves,” White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski(notes) told the team’s official Web site. “It’s frustrating because they are trying to let us back in. Whoever wants it, us or Minnesota, Detroit is trying to give it. … It seems like it’s there, but we can’t do anything about it.”

The White Sox managed just five hits over the final nine innings Thursday and were 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position. Jermaine Dye(notes) and Alex Rios(notes) went a combined 0 for 12 with five strikeouts. Manager Ozzie Guillen said there would be several lineup chances.

“They give up on me, then I give up on them,” he said.

At least the White Sox will not have to face Zack Greinke(notes), who won his 14th game and lowered his ERA to 2.14 with five scoreless innings Thursday. He was struck on the arm by a liner in the fourth, but stayed in the game. X-rays were negative on the Kansas City ace.

Chicago, a team in serious need of some consistency, will hand the ball to Mark Buehrle(notes) (12-8, 3.73 ERA), who has been anything but consistent since his perfect game July 23 against Tampa Bay, going 1-5 with a 4.66 ERA.

After beating Boston on Sept. 7, the left-hander lost to Los Angeles on Sunday, allowing three runs in seven innings of a 3-2 defeat.

Buehrle has always been tough on the Royals, going 20-8 with a 3.47 lifetime ERA against them. The White Sox have won his last 11 starts at home against Kansas City, including two this year.

Buehrle will be opposed by Luke Hochevar(notes) (6-10, 6.23), seeking his first win in nearly two months.

Hochevar has lost his last four starts, and is 0-7 in nine outings - all Kansas City losses - since a July 25 win over Texas. The right-hander gave up five runs in five innings of a 13-6 loss to Cleveland on Saturday, and has yielded 19 runs in 14 innings over his last three starts.

Hochevar is 1-2 with a 4.82 ERA in five starts against the White Sox. The win came at home July 4, when he allowed four runs in six innings of a 6-4 victory.

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Starting Pitchers

L. Hochevar KC vs. M. Buehrle Tor
7-13 Record 13-10
6.55 ERA 3.84
106 K 105
46 BB 45
1.49 WHIP 1.25

Scoreboard

Friday, Sep 18