Series: Game 3 of 4

Kansas City leads 2-1 (as of 9/27)

Game 1: Thursday, September 25
Kansas City6Final
Chi White Sox3
Game 2: Friday, September 26
Kansas City3Final
Chi White Sox1
Game 3: Saturday, September 27
Kansas City4Final
Chi White Sox5
Game 4: Sunday, September 28
Kansas City6Final
Chi White Sox4

Royals 4

(88-73, 46-34 away)

White Sox 5

(73-88, 40-40 home)

    7:10 PM ET, September 27, 2014

    U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    KC 001000111 4 8 0
    CHW 31000010 - 5 7 0

    W: J. Danks (11-11)

    L: D. Duffy (9-12)

    S: J. Guerra (1)

    Royals-White Sox Preview


    While the Kansas City Royals try to track down an AL Central crown, Chicago White Sox fans will be focused on the man that made three such titles and a World Series possible.

    A day after securing at least a wild-card spot, Kansas City will try to make gains in the division race Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field as Chicago recognizes the retiring Paul Konerko's place in franchise history.

    Kansas City (88-72), winner of five of six, clinched its first postseason berth since its 1985 championship season with Friday's 3-1 win in Chicago, ending baseball's longest postseason drought. It is now a game back of Detroit for the division lead and a game ahead of Oakland for the top wild card with two to play.

    "It feels better than expected," said Billy Butler, who has spent his eight-year career with the Royals. "It's a great thing. I'm proud to bring this organization something they envisioned when they drafted me."

    Lorenzo Cain is batting .424 over an eight-game hitting streak while Alcides Escobar is at the same clip in seven games.

    Before the Royals get to work on potentially squaring up the division entering the final day of the regular season, they'll watch as Chicago (72-88) honors Konerko in a pregame ceremony while aiming to end a four-game skid.

    Konerko, a six-time All-Star who has played 16 seasons with the White Sox, ranks second on the franchise home run list (432) and third in hits (2,292). The 2005 ALCS MVP's 2014 contributions have been limited and underwhelming in a parallel White Sox season, but his status as a franchise great was long before established with seven 30-home run seasons and six with 100 RBIs.

    "It's like you don't want it to end, you want it to keep going," Konerko said. "But at the same time it is uncomfortable to play games underneath where everything on the (scoreboard) is about you, and everything going on is about you. So I'm kind of looking forward getting on the other side of it, but I'm trying to soak every last bit of it in while I'm doing it. So it's kind of that balance."

    John Danks, the longest tenured White Sox pitcher, wasn't on the 2005 team but joined the Chicago rotation two seasons later and makes for a fitting mound presence to send off the slugger. In addition to being in Konerko's clubhouse for eight seasons, Danks (10-11, 4.82 ERA) has never lost to the Royals.

    He enters his longtime teammate's big day in fine recent form, going 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA and four hits allowed in 12 innings over his last two starts.

    One of those came against the Royals as the left-hander limited them to two hits in six scoreless innings of a 4-3 loss on Sept. 15. Danks is 6-0 with a 2.42 ERA in 15 career starts against Kansas City.

    Escobar (0 for 15), Cain (0 for 8), Mike Moustakas (1 for 13), Alex Gordon (5 for 32), Salvador Perez (2 for 11), Butler (7 for 35) and Omar Infante (4 for 19) have all struggled against him.

    Danny Duffy takes the ball for the Royals.

    Duffy (9-11, 2.32) returned from a three-start absence due to a shoulder injury in Monday's 2-0 win in Cleveland. The left-hander held the Indians to six hits in six innings for his first victory in five starts, but he was critical of his performance.

    "It was probably the worst stuff I've had all year," Duffy said.

    His numbers were similar in a victory over Chicago on June 14 as Duffy allowed five hits with nine strikeouts in seven scoreless innings to improve to 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in three career starts versus the White Sox.

    Konerko is 2 for 5 off Duffy.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

     Kansas CityChicago
    Current StreakW1L1
    Last 106-44-6

    Pitching Matchup

    Kansas CityChicago
    D. Duffy
    9-12, 2.53 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 at CHW
    2.0 IP, 4 ER
    Dec = Loss
    J. Danks
    11-11, 4.74 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 vs KC
    7.0 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = Win

    Gameday Lineups

    NO.Kansas CityChicago
    1. A. Escobar, SS A. Eaton, CF
    2. N. Aoki, RF A. Ramirez, SS
    3. L. Cain, CF J. Abreu, DH
    4. E. Hosmer, 1B A. Garcia, RF
    5. B. Butler, DH P. Konerko, 1B
    6. A. Gordon, LF D. Viciedo, LF
    7. S. Perez, C M. Semien, 3B
    8. O. Infante, 2B J. Phegley, C
    9. M. Moustakas, 3B C. Sanchez, 2B

    Research Notes

    Danny Duffy has allowed a .155 batting average in at-bats to end in a curveball this season, which is 63 points below the league average among pitchers with at least 20 starts this season. Jose Abreu has a .186 batting average in at-bats to end in a curveball this season, which is 55 points below the league average among qualified hitters this season.

    ESPN Stats & Information