Extra Bases: Central play much improved

CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox are finding out that the American League Central can be a happy place once again.

They might have been dealt a 4-0 defeat by the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, but they already had wrapped up the series and are feeling much better about games in the division.

The White Sox will get the opportunity to jump right back into division play when the Kansas City Royals visit U.S. Cellular Field for three games starting Friday.

The White Sox might be a game under .500 this season at 33-34, but they are 16-12 against AL Central teams and they just saw a five-game winning streak against division foes snapped.

Last season, Chicago was a dismal 26-50 against the division, with only two victories over the Cleveland Indians. It’s only the middle of June and already the White Sox have defeated the Indians seven times.

In winning two of three against the Tigers this week (one game in the scheduled four-game series was postponed because of rain), the White Sox had to go up against Tigers pitchers Rick Porcello, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.

“It was three very, very good starters so that’s what we can take away from this week,” White Sox leadoff man Adam Eaton said. “Kansas City is coming to town, we’re very excited about those guys and hopefully we can win another series. That’s our goal.”

Read all about it: Here is the Rapid Reaction from Thursday’s 4-0 defeat to the Tigers.

Keep an eye on this: The White Sox are only 6-13 at home against the Royals the past two seasons, going 3-7 against them in their own park last year.

Question of the day: Hitting and pitching gets much of the credit, but how much has the White Sox defense up the middle -- shortstop Alexei Ramirez, second baseman Gordon Beckham, center fielder Eaton -- meant in Chicago's reversal from a team that finished 36 games under .500 last season to one that heads into play Friday one game under .500?