Opinion

Scouting the White Sox

The last time White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko played in a game, he took an elbow to the head by Jarrod Dyson on Aug. 7.

It was inadvertent, but Konerko suffered a concussion and is expected to return tonight as the White Sox open up a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.

“He'll come (to the ballpark) early and do some stuff,” manager Robin Ventura told the Chicago Tribune. “We'll go from there. It looks like he'll be able to play.”Konerko, who is batting .316 with 18 homers and 54 RBIs, likely will be the designated hitter and Adam Dunn will play at first base.

Dunn, meanwhile, is one home run shy of 400 for his career. Dunn crushed a 451-foot home run at Kauffman Stadium on July 14, but the Royals won that game 6-3 thanks to a pair of homers from Alcides Escobar.

Tonight’s starter is Chris Sale, the lefty with a 14-3 record. He is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA in three starts against the Royals this year with 14 strikeouts in 21 innings.

On Saturday, Jake Peavy, 9-8 with a 3.04 ERA, gets the ball and he took the loss in that July 14 game. He is 0-2 with a 5.93 ERA against the Royals this season. Peavy, who seemed to tire in both of those starts, has a 5.87 ERA in the seventh inning this year.

However, Peavy has topped 120 pitches in six games this season. Since the All-Star Game, Peavy has had four of those games compared with two for the Tigers’ Justin Verlander.

"I'm just 31,” Peavy told the Chicago Tribune. “I get talked about like I'm ancient. I still have a lot of baseball left ... You build yourself up. I am comfortable throwing 120-plus pitches. That's what I'm conditioned to do now.''

Rookie Jose Quintana, 5-2 with a 2.77 ERA, will start Sunday and he has pitched into the seventh inning in his last five starts. However, he is 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA against the Royals, who lead the season series with Chicago 5-4.

At the dish, Dunn can be counted on to do his usual: homer, walk or strikeout. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski is having a stellar season with career-best 23 homers to go along with 67 RBIs and an .892 OPS. Right fielder Dayan Viciedo has been on a roll lately, batting .409 with two doubles and two homers in the last six games.

| Pete Grathoff, pgrathoff@kcstar.com

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