White Sox-Royals Preview
Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals
- The Royals have won each of the last three season series against the White Sox and already lead the 2014 series, 2-1. Each of Kansas City's two wins over Chicago this season has come by two runs or less.
- The White Sox have just two wins in their last eight games and will be looking to snap their current two-game losing streak. White Sox batters have struck out a ML-leading 409 times this season.
- Kansas City has won two straight and four of its last six home games after losing each of its previous four at Kauffman Stadium.
- Jason Vargas is 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA in his last two starts after going 0-1 with a 7.27 ERA in his previous three starts. Vargas is 1-1 with a 6.31 ERA in six career starts against the White Sox.
- Since winning his ML debut on April 27, Scott Carroll is winless (0-3) with a 7.20 ERA in his last three outings. Carroll will be facing Kansas City for the first time.
- Billy Butler has 17 home runs and 83 RBI in his career against the White Sox -- both are career-highs for him against any opponent.
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By KEVIN CHROUST
(AP) -- After placing their rookie slugger on the disabled list and losing two of three to the AL's worst team, the slumping Chicago White Sox need something to go their way.
However, Kansas City's Alex Gordon appears to be breaking out of his slump and that could spell more trouble for the White Sox.
Chicago looks to avoid a seventh loss in nine games in Monday night's series opener at Kauffman Stadium.
The White Sox (21-24) placed Jose Abreu on the 15-day DL with ankle tendinitis Sunday, a massive loss considering the first baseman is among the league leaders with 15 home runs and 42 RBIs in his first 44 games in the big leagues.
"You could tell (Saturday), when he went to swing, it was like his foot going over fire," White Sox captain Paul Konerko told the team's official website. "No matter how tough you are, and he's a tough kid, there was just no getting through that type of pain."
Things only got worse for Chicago when they took the field for the first time without Abreu and lost 8-2 in Sunday's finale in Houston.
"Everything gets frustrating, especially when you have games like this," manager Robin Ventura said. "It just needs to be cleaned up."
Konerko figures to get plenty of Abreu's at-bats, though the veteran went 0 for 4 Sunday and is batting .192.
Gordon entered Sunday 2 for 17 over a five-game stretch and had gone 10 straight contests without an RBI before leading the Royals (22-21) to an 8-6 win over Baltimore. The left fielder went 4 for 4 with two home runs and a career-high six RBIs, which brought on his first curtain call.
"I didn't know what to do," said Gordon, who entered Sunday with one homer after hitting a team-high 20 last season. "They told me just to go wave my helmet. They just started yelling at me. I was downstairs enjoying the moment. They told me to come up and give the crowd a wave. It was my first. Hopefully, it's not the last."
Gordon went 4 for 13 with two doubles and four RBIs against Chicago from April 4-6 to help Kansas City take two of three at Kauffman Stadium. He is batting .345 during a seven-game home hitting streak against the White Sox.
Gordon and his teammates will get their first look at Scott Carroll (1-3, 5.24 ERA), who will be making his fifth career start.
Carroll has lost three straight starts, and the last two have been disastrous with 12 runs and 22 hits allowed over nine innings.
"It's just kind of leaving me a little salty because I know I'm better than that," the rookie right-hander said after surrendering six runs and 11 hits in five innings in Tuesday's 11-0 defeat at Oakland.
Chicago starting pitchers have a 6.59 ERA in the last 10 games, a 3-7 stretch.
The Royals counter with Jason Vargas (4-1, 3.00 ERA), who has a 1.32 ERA in winning his last two starts after going 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA in his previous two. The left-hander held Colorado to two runs and five hits with a season-high eight strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings of Wednesday's 3-2 home win.
Vargas tossed seven shutout innings to win his lone start against the White Sox last season after recording a 9.70 ERA in his previous four starts against them. Alexei Ramirez is 8 for 18 with two home runs off Vargas while Adam Dunn is 3 for 7 with a pair of homers.
Updated May 18, 2014