Usually, a division leader locked in a tight race welcomes the opportunity to face a sub-.500 team in the last half of September.
By PETE GRATHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Then again, the American League Central-leading White Sox havent had much success against the Royals this season.
In fact, when the Royals won the rubber game of a three-game series 2-1 at Chicago on Sept. 9, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: The good news for the White Sox is they have only three more games against the Kansas City Royals. Or its bad news.
Good or bad, the White Sox will find out Tuesday when they come to Kauffman Stadium to open a three-game series with the Royals. Chicago is three games ahead of Detroit in the Central after beating the Tigers 5-4 on Monday.
When the White Sox came calling in August, the Royals swept a three-game series at The K.
The Royals are 10-5 against the White Sox this season, and Chicagos only two wins at Kauffman Stadium have come by one run, including a 14-inning affair in the first game after the All-Star break.
Why the troubles? The White Sox are second in baseball with 192 home runs, and that may account for their struggles at Kauffman Stadium.
We score with the home run, (and) its a park (U.S. Cellular Field) that you can hit home runs in, Chicago manager Robin Ventura told reporters earlier this month. You play in Detroit or Kansas City, those are bigger parks and some of the balls you hit dont go out.
The Royals have feasted on one player in particular: reliever Brett Myers. Hes allowed 18 hits and 12 runs in 31/3 innings for a whopping 32.40 ERA.
It seems like every time I face them they (hit) balls, find holes and stuff like that, Myers told reporters after losing the Sept. 9 game. They are just putting the bat on it and finding holes and being able to score runs.
Starting Tuesday, the Royals play only AL Central teams to finish the season. They have a chance to affect the playoff race with the three games against Chicago and seven against the Tigers, including one this Monday that is rescheduled from an April 30 rainout.
Hochever likes Chicago
Luke Hochevar will start Tuesday for the Royals, and hes made 12 career appearances (11 starts) against Chicago, compiling a 4-4 mark and a 4.05 ERA (33 earned runs in 731/3 IP).
At U.S. Cellular Field, hes done well with a 3-2 record and a 2.66 ERA in six starts. He tossed seven shutout innings on May 12 at Chicago.
Overall, Hochever is 8-13 with a 5.46 ERA this season.
Butler loves LA
In retrospect, it was no surprise that designated hitter Billy Butler got the 100th home run of his career in a 9-7 loss Friday to the Angels. Many of his big milestones have come against the Halos.
Butlers first major-league hit came against the Angels Bartolo Colon on May 1, 2007. On June 26, 2007, Butler hit his first home run in the bigs against the Angels Ervin Santana. His 500th career hit came on July 4, 2010 in Anaheim.
Guthrie on a roll
Since Aug. 8, starter Jeremy Guthrie has gone 4-0 with four no-decisions in his last eight starts, all Royals victories, posting a 1.78 ERA, allowing 11 earned runs in 552/3 innings.Guthries ERA in that span is the third best in the majors behind only Atlantas Kris Medlen (0.69) and Detroits Max Scherzer (1.29).
Throw out a stinker against the Red Sox on Aug. 25 (six earned runs in 22/3 innings), and his ERA is 0.85 since Aug. 8.
• The Royals have homered in five of their last six games, including their last three, totaling eight home runs in the span.
• Butler has a season-best nine-game hitting streak, during which he is batting .308 (12 for 39) during the streak. His previous best this year was eight games.
• Shortstop Alcides Escobar had a career-best 11-game hitting streak snapped Sunday. He batted .347 (17 for 49) with three doubles, one triple and seven RBIs during the streak.