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Series preview: Royals at White Sox

CHICAGO -- As Paul Konerko gets set to play in the final series of his career, anybody wondering what contributions he can give to the offense this weekend is completely missing the point.

The upcoming four-game series against the Kansas City Royals, which begins Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field, isn't so much about how many runs Konerko can produce but rather how much appreciation fans can show for all those runs he produced in the past.

Konerko enters the series with 439 career home runs (432 with the White Sox), 1,386 RBIs (1,344 with the White Sox) and a .279 batting average (.281 with the White Sox). He was a six-time All-Star over his 16 seasons on the South Side and led the offense when the club won its 2005 World Series title.

Yet for all he has done, Konerko isn't looking to be lauded this weekend, even though the celebrations are coming. He still wants to produce, with no bigger indicator than he wanted to return to action on the road trip after suffering a fractured bone in his hand earlier this month so that he could be prepared to have quality at-bats this weekend.

It hasn't necessarily been a season to remember as Konerko enters his final series with five home runs, 22 RBIs and a .217 batting average this season, but he knew his productivity would take a hit as the right-handed power option off the bench.

He still has four games remaining, though, and is expected to play in each of them. One milestone in reach: Konerko needs one home run to tie Jason Giambi (440) for 41st place on the all-time list.

Paul Konerko Day is scheduled for Saturday evening, with a pregame ceremony that will include former teammates, farewell gifts for the team captain and a video tribute. Among the players expected to attend Saturday's ceremony are Joe Crede, Jim Thome and Scott Podsednik.

HEAD TO HEAD

Royals starter James Shields is 6-5 in 21 career starts against the White Sox, holding a 3.58 ERA. ... Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie has made 25 appearances (23 starts) against the White Sox and is 9-8 with a 3.49 ERA. ... In his only start against the White Sox this season, Royals left-hander Danny Duffy gave up just five hits over seven scoreless innings. ... In two starts against the White Sox this season, Royals rookie Yordano Ventura is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA. ... White Sox starter Jose Quintana is 0-5 with a 4.20 ERA against the Royals, who remain the only American League Central team he has yet to beat. ... White Sox starter Hector Noesi has just 6 2/3 career innings against the Royals, his lowest among any American League team. ... White Sox starter John Danks is 6-0 in 15 career starts against the Royals and his 2.42 ERA against them is his best against any AL Central team and best against any AL team other than the Oakland A's (2.38). ... In a start at Kansas City last week, the White Sox's Chris Bassitt lasted just 3 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits with four walks.

NOTES

The Royals' magic number for clinching a wild-card berth and ending a 28-year postseason drought is two. They trail the Detroit Tigers by two games in the chase for the American League Central title. ... Quintana enters Thursday's start 12th in the American League in ERA at 3.22 and could potentially crack into the top 10 with Max Scherzer sitting 10th at 3.19 and Shields ninth at 3.18. ... The White Sox are just 5-10 against the Royals this season and 1-5 against them at U.S. Cellular Field. ... The White Sox have also lost four of the last five games against the Royals and eight of the last 10 after starting the season 3-2 against their division rival. ... The White Sox's Jose Abreu has 35 home runs, needing one more to break a tie with Ron Kittle's and hold the club rookie record all to himself. ... The White Sox are 10-11 this month and have a chance to record just their second winning month of the season after going 14-12 in July. ... White Sox starters own a 2.75 ERA over the last 19 games, a run that goes back to Sept. 5, and eight of the last nine White Sox starts have been quality. ... Alexei Ramirez needs one home run for 100 in his career.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Thursday: White Sox LH Jose Quintana (9-10, 3.22 ERA) vs. Royals RH James Shields (14-8, 3.18), 7:0 p.m. CST

Friday: White Sox RH Hector Noesi (8-10, 4.39) vs. Royals RH Jeremy Guthrie (12-11, 4.28), 7:10 p.m. CST

Saturday: White Sox LH John Danks (10-11, 4.82) vs. Royals LH Danny Duffy (8-11, 2.32), 6:10 p.m. CST

Sunday: White Sox RH Chris Bassitt (1-1, 3.65) vs. Royals RH Yordano Ventura (14-10, 3.07), 1:10 p.m. CST