After snapping a lengthy skid against Kansas City, the Chicago White Sox could use another win before they head into a pivotal series.
The White Sox will try to take the series finale with the Royals on Sunday, but to do so they’ll have to get past surging Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie.
Chicago (75-63) had dropped six in a row to Kansas City (62-77) before a 5-4 victory Saturday. The White Sox had given up 21 runs over their previous three matchups with the Royals.
“They’ve been tough on us,” said manager Robin Ventura, whose AL Central-leading club begins a four-game home series against second-place Detroit on Monday. “It’s one of those where it’s good to get a win.”
Hector Santiago (3-1, 3.71 ERA) will try to lead Chicago to another win in his second major league start.
The converted reliever gave up a solo homer, two other hits and three walks over five innings of Monday’s 4-2 victory over Minnesota.
“Hector did a great job. You ask him to start, a guy that’s gone from being a closer and being in the bullpen. He got sent down and stretched him out. This is a big one,” Ventura said.
Santiago will try to outperform Guthrie (4-3, 3.70), who is seeking a career-high fifth straight win. The right-hander has given up a combined three runs over his last two starts, victories over playoff contenders Detroit and Texas.
He allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings of Tuesday’s 6-3 win over the Rangers, giving him a 2.04 ERA and 4-0 record over his last six starts. Two of those outings were against the White Sox, including a 2-1 win at U.S. Cellular Field on Aug. 8.
Guthrie, whom the Royals acquired from Colorado on July 19, pitched eight scoreless innings in that game. He limited the White Sox to two unearned runs, two hits and a walk over 7 2-3 innings Aug. 19 in Kansas City, but did not get a decision in a 5-2 victory.
“His execution, his preparation and his ability to compete. They’re all positives and they’re all great examples, everything that he does,” manager Ned Yost told the Royals’ official website.
The White Sox might have third baseman Kevin Youkilis back from paternity leave in time for Sunday’s game. Youkilis and his wife Julie welcomed a son Friday.
Slugger Adam Dunn’s status is a little murkier because of a strained right oblique that’s kept him out of four games this month, including the first two of this series.
“Whenever he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go. Just depends on how he does,” Ventura told the team’s official website. “I know he wants to play, but I think (White Sox head athletic trainer) Herm (Schneider) has a better idea this time.”
It might be a wise idea to keep Dunn out of the lineup as he’s 1 for 13 in his career against Guthrie. Youkilis is 11 for 46 (.239) and Alexei Ramirez is 1 for 25 (.040).