If Kansas City native Scott Carroll is to win a third straight outing for the Chicago White Sox, he'll likely need to pitch better than when he's previously faced his hometown team.
Riding back-to-back scoreless starts, the rookie right-hander looks to help the White Sox hand the visiting Royals a fifth consecutive defeat Tuesday night.Carroll (4-5, 4.19 ERA) allowed 12 runs and 17 hits in 11 innings to lose his first two starts after returning to the rotation late last month, but has yielded three hits without a run over 11 2/3 to win the last two."Guys know I'm a sinkerball pitcher, and I'm going to continue to be aggressive with the sinkerball," Carroll told MLB's official website. "When I'm able to throw my curveball and split-changeup for strikes, it keeps them off balance. You mix in a cutter, and it definitely gives them something to look at and be ready for."Carroll appears healthy enough to take the mound after a back issue forced him to leave July 12 at Cleveland, when he gave up two hits in five innings of a 6-2 victory."The back has been feeling good," he said. "The All-Star break was a good time to let the body heal up and get some time off."Carroll, 3-5 with a 5.14 ERA in nine career starts, yielded six runs and eight hits in four innings of a 7-6 win at Kansas City (48-50) on May 19. He also gave up a run and seven baserunners in three innings of relief during a 7-2 home loss to the Royals on June 13.A winner in three of four since the All-Star break, Chicago (48-52) snapped a four-game skid to Kansas City with a 3-1 victory on Monday. Adam Eaton had two hits, Adam Dunn drove in two runs and Chris Sale pitched seven solid innings for the White Sox, who are one game behind the third-place Royals and nine back of AL Central-leading DetroitEaton is batting .452 (14 for 31) in his last eight games, and is 8 for 13 in the last four against the Royals.Teammate Jose Abreu is batting .388 during a 12-game hitting streak, and .347 while hitting safely in 30 of 31 contests.He's 1 for 3 with a strikeout versus Bruce Chen (1-2, 6.46), who is 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his last four starts against the White Sox. The left-hander allowed a run in 6 1/3 innings while not factoring in a 4-3 victory over Chicago on April 5.In his third appearance after missing two months with a lower back injury and his first start since April 24, Chen gave up two runs over 5 1/3 innings before the Royals put up five in the seventh of a 5-2 win over Detroit on July 13.Kansas City has scored 17 runs while losing seven of eight. It's recorded one run or none five times during that span, and totaled two in the last three."We've got to find some offense somewhere," manager Ned Yost said.Eric Hosmer is batting .413 during a 16-game hitting streak, but could miss a second straight game with a bruised hand. He's 2 for 2 versus Carroll.The Royals' loss Monday was just their second in 12 games at U.S. Cellular Field.
Bruce Chen throws his fastball 37 percent of the time, which is 15.7 percentage points below the league average among pitchers with at least five starts in 2014. Jose Abreu has a .326 batting average against fastballs this season, which is 35 points above the league average among qualified hitters, while he has a .209 batting average against non-fastballs, which is 30 points below the league average among qualified hitters.