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Royals limp into Chicago to face Chris Sale as White Sox series begins

07/21/2014 9:22 AM

07/21/2014 9:59 AM

The Royals had just completed a round of verbal cap-tipping, their usual response when confronted with questions about their inability to combat elite pitchers. In the wake of a sweep in Boston, Billy Butler offered praise for Red Sox workhorse Jon Lester, and then reminded of the task ahead.

“You shake it off, and you get back after it tomorrow,” Butler said. “We faced a tough guy today. It doesn’t get any easier tomorrow. We face Chris Sale tomorrow.”

Oh. Right.

The Royals slink into the Windy City with six losses in their last seven games. They looked pitiable against Lester on Sunday. Now here comes an even greater challenge.

Sale has decimated opposing hitters this season, with a 2.08 ERA, a 6.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 0.842 WHIP. Batters are triple-slashing .190/.237/.271 against him.

Should be fun.

Here are the matchups for this week at U.S. Cellular Field:

Monday, 7:10 p.m.: Jeremy Guthrie (5-8, 4.56 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (8-1, 2.08 ERA).

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.: Bruce Chen (1-2, 6.46 ERA) vs. Scott Carroll (4-5, 4.19 ERA).

Wednesday, 1:10 p.m.: James Shields (9-5, 3.70 ERA) vs. Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.26 ERA).

FROM THE STAR

The Royals were swept in Boston, and Alex Gordon questioned the team’s effort.

You know who else questioned the effort? Sam Mellinger. His column was fiery.

Salvador Perez sat out on Sunday with a slight groin strain.

THE ROYALS’ PLAYOFF PERCENTAGE (ACCORDING TO BASEBALL PROSPECTUS)

10.4 percent.

HERE IS SOME ROCK MUSIC

“Crickets Throw Their Voice” by Basement.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @McCulloughStar.

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