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Major League Baseball
Preview
Kansas City at Chi. White Sox
When: 2:10 PM ET, Saturday, July 14, 2018
Where: Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago White Sox have found it difficult to win inside the American League Central - or against any other division, for that matter - but beating the Kansas City Royals hasn't proven to be all that hard. Coming off consecutive victories, the White Sox look to match their longest winning streak of the season Saturday, when they host the Royals for the middle contest of their three-game series.

Chicago owns the third-worst record (32-61) in the majors, going 26-59 against non-division opponents and a combined 8-23 versus Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota - the top three teams in the Central. However, the White Sox improved to 6-2 against Kansas City following Friday's 9-6 series-opening victory as Leury Garcia and Omar Narvaez drove in three runs apiece while slumping All-Star Jose Abreu notched two hits - including a solo blast for only his second extra-base hit this month. Kansas City continues to go nowhere fast, as Friday's result was its 12th loss in its last 13 contests. Whit Merrifield bounced back with a pair of singles in the opener after his 12-game hitting streak came to an end in the team's previous contest, improving his batting average to .409 this month.

TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, FS Kansas City, NBCS Chicago

PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals LH Danny Duffy (4-8, 4.89 ERA) vs. White Sox RH Reynaldo Lopez (4-6, 3.77)

Duffy has held the opposition to a total of one run over 18 innings in his last three road starts but has come away with two no-decisions, including Monday at Minnesota as struck out nine in six frames. All four of the former third-round pick's victories this season have been on the road, where he has posted a 3.89 ERA (6.75 at home). Abreu (16-for-48) and Matt Davidson (4-for-10) have each homered twice versus Duffy, who is 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA in two 2018 starts against Chicago.

Lopez threw only 53 of his 97 pitches for strikes while tying a career high with five walks and allowing three runs over 4 2/3 innings in last Friday's loss at Houston. The 24-year-old Dominican has been significantly better at home (2.72 ERA) this season than on the road (4.60), although he has posted a 5.20 ERA in his last five turns overall. Lopez matched a career high by giving up 10 hits in Kansas City on April 27 but escaped with a no-decision despite yielding four runs (two earned) over 6 1/3 innings.

WALK-OFFS

1. Davidson did not play Friday but is batting .462 with seven homers and 12 RBIs in seven games against the Royals in 2018.

2. Kansas City OF Jorge Bonifacio contributed a two-run double in the opener to extend his hitting streak to six games, but he has struck out 11 times in 25 at-bats over that span.

3. Abreu's homer gave him 137 blasts for his career, moving him past Jose Valentin for sole possession of 11th place on the club's all-time list.

PREDICTION: Royals 5, White Sox 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Kansas City 26-67 L2 11-35 15-32 3-15 13-20 7-26 3-6
Chi. White Sox 32-61 W2 18-28 14-33 6-7 14-25 7-17 5-12
Last Meeting
Kansas City Chi. White Sox
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/13/18 KC 6 CHW 9 .200 0 .550 .378 3 1.141
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Kansas City J. Soler .400 8 1.170
Chi. White Sox L. Garcia .480 12 1.319
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Kansas City C. Cuthbert 2 2 6
Chi. White Sox M. Davidson 7 9 12
Pitching ERA Avg K
Kansas City 6.66 .257 56
Chi. White Sox 3.25 .299 45
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Kansas City W. Merrifield .305 106 .807
Chi. White Sox Y. Sanchez .259 89 .722
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Kansas City M. Moustakas 19 42 58
Chi. White Sox M. Davidson 14 32 38
Pitching ERA Avg K
Kansas City 5.40 .239 650
Chi. White Sox 4.96 .243 692