The Kansas City Royals' offense finally showed signs of life in the finale of their four-game weekend set, and they'll try to keep it going against a rookie pitcher when they open a three-game series with the visiting Chicago White Sox on Monday. The Royals scored just two runs in their first three games against Baltimore over the weekend but broke out Sunday for an 8-6 win to salvage a split. Chicago dropped two of three at Houston over the weekend and has lost six of eight overall.
The White Sox hope to provide some run support for right-hander Scott Carroll after being shut out in two of the last three games he has started, but they'll have to do so without rookie slugger Jose Abreu, who landed on the disabled list Sunday with an ankle injury. Veterans Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko will need to pick up the slack with Abreu out, and both have hit scheduled Royals starter Jason Vargas well - Konerko is 7-for-16 with a homer against the left-hander while Dunn is 3-for-7 with two blasts. Kansas City looks to Vargas to continue the strong performance on the mound that has kept the team afloat despite owning one of the worst offenses in the American League.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, CSN (Chicago), FSN (Kansas City)
PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox RH Scott Carroll (1-3, 5.24 ERA) vs. Royals LH Jason Vargas (4-1, 3.00)
Carroll was outstanding in his first two career starts, allowing just one earned run over 13 1/3 innings, but he has been roughed up his last two times out. He surrendered six runs and 11 hits for the second straight outing Tuesday at Oakland, lasting just five frames while dropping his third straight start. The 29-year-old has allowed three homers in his last two turns after not giving up any in his first two outings.
Vargas' hot start faded into two sub-par outings, but he has rebounded with back-to-back wins in which he has allowed two runs over 13 2/3 innings. The 31-year-old racked up a season-high eight strikeouts Wednesday against Colorado while giving up two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 frames. Vargas is 1-1 with a 6.31 ERA in seven games (six starts) against the White Sox.
1. Chicago 3B Conor Gillaspie is 9-for-22 during his six-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 24 of the 26 games in which he has played this season.
2. Royals 1B Billy Butler snapped out of a 2-for-20 slump by going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs Sunday. Butler is a career .278 hitter versus the White Sox, and his 17 homers against them are his most versus any opponent.
3. White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham failed to reach base Sunday for just the second time in 21 games but is 5-for-13 with a homer against Vargas.
PREDICTION: Royals 6, White Sox 3