The Chicago White Sox have nobody to blame but themselves for their dashed playoff hopes, but they can still make a mark on other playoff chases.
The final road trip of the season, which starts Monday night, includes games against the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers, both of whom are battling for the American League Central title. Heading into play Monday night, the Royals trail the Tigers in the division by 1 1/2 games.
The White Sox will see the Royals first for the final three games of the season at Kansas City. From there it's three games at Tampa Bay against the Rays, who no longer are a playoff threat, and then it's the final road series next week at Detroit. The season ends with four games at home, Sept. 25-28, against the Royals.
The Royals haven't made the playoff since 1985 and their 28-year drought is the longest in baseball. In losing three of four games against the disappointing Boston Red Sox this past weekend, the Royals appear to be cracking under the pressure of the huge opportunity in front of them.
The White Sox, meanwhile, played well on their just concluded seven-game homestand, winning five of those games. They won three of four games against the playoff-contending Oakland Athletics and swept a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.
The White Sox have won just four times in 12 tries against the Royals this season and have been outscored 59-39. Against the AL Central, the White Sox have lost five of their last seven games and are 13-19 on the road.
HEAD TO HEAD
Royals starter James Shields is 1-1 against the White Sox this season in three starts, with a 2.25 ERA over 20 innings. ... Royals starter Yordano Ventura, who has delivered an impressive rookie season, has his problems against the White Sox, facing them once this year and once late last season, giving up four home runs while posting a 7.20 ERA over 10 innings. ... Players on the Royals' 40-man roster have 175 at-bats against White Sox starter John Danks and have only hit two home runs, while batting .223. ... The White Sox's Chris Bassitt will make his fourth career appearance and third start Tuesday against the Royals, who he has never faced. ... White Sox starter Chris Sale has an impressive 2.36 ERA in 99 career innings against the Royals but is just 7-7 against them.
The White Sox are 30-36 against American League Central teams this season, with 10 more games remaining. ... Jose Abreu tied Ron Kittle's White Sox rookie record of 35 home runs with a blast on Sunday, one day after matching Kittle's mark of 100 RBIs in his rookie season if 1983. ... The White Sox have lost six of their last seven games against the Royals, but are 9-4 over their last 13 games at Kauffman Stadium. ... The White Sox are just 1-8 over their last nine road games. ... Danks, who will start for the White Sox on Monday night, is 6-0 with a 2.58 ERA over 14 career starts, 11 quality, against the Royals. ... Paul Konerko needs one home run to tie Jason Giambi (440) for 41st place on the all-time list, while Alexei Ramirez needs one home run for 100 in his career.
Monday: White Sox LH John Danks (9-11, 5.05 ERA) vs. Royals RH James Shields (14-7, 3.13), 7:10 p.m. CST
Tuesday: White Sox RH Chris Bassitt (0-1, 4.73) vs. TBA, 7:10 p.m. CST
Wednesday: White Sox LH Chris Sale (12-3, 1.99) vs. Royals RH Yordano Ventura (12-9, 3.25), 7:10 p.m. CST