|White Sox hope to extend win streak against Royals|
The Chicago White Sox will try to stay hot at the plate after enjoying their best inning of the season in the series opener against the Kansas City Royals.
Chicago (45-76) erupted for a seven-run seventh inning in a 9-3 win over Kansas City on Friday. The White Sox can ensure a series victory with another win Saturday night at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.
Although their record is dismal, the White Sox have won three consecutive games and eight of their last 14. Chicago is coming off its 25th come-from-behind win of the season.
Nicky Delmonico is coming off a monster game in which he homered and had a career-high five RBIs. He spent much of the first half of the season on the disabled list because of a broken hand, but now he is healthy and feeling good at the plate.
"I felt like I'm starting to get my rhythm back," Delmonico told reporters after Friday's win. "I'm not trying to do too much."
Meanwhile, Kansas City (37-85) is on pace for one of its worst seasons in franchise history. The Royals have lost six of their last eight games and 12 of their last 15.
The Royals will try to start another impressive streak on defense. Manager Ned Yost's club went 16 games without making an error until Friday, when the streak was snapped by a fielding error by shortstop Alcides Escobar.
White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey (4-9, 6.06 ERA) will take the mound for his 17th start of the season. He might need a solid outing to maintain his spot in the starting rotation over the season's final six weeks. He has lost each of his last four starts, giving up 20 earned runs in 18 innings in that span.
In six career starts against Kansas City, Covey is 0-5 with a 6.34 ERA. That includes going 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA in two starts against the Royals this season.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria wants to see Covey keep the ball down in the strike zone.
"We're confident and hopeful that he can," Renteria said. "Obviously, in real terms, he's the one that's got to do it. I think he's worked and gained a lot of experience and knowledge and had some successes this year that I think will bode well for him, especially since last year we had him up.
"We're going through a process. As he continues to go through that process, he knows when he stays behind and through the ball, getting it down, for him it's really, really important because the ball has a lot of tremendous action below the zone. We need him to do that in order to be effective and we believe he will continue to progress in that regard."
The Royals will counter with right-hander Brad Keller (5-5, 3.40 ERA), who will make his 14th start of his rookie campaign. He got a win in his last start, allowing one run and four hits over seven innings in a 3-1 victory over Toronto on Monday.
Keller has faced the White Sox five times this season, including twice as a starter, and has an 0-1 record with a 6.00 ERA against them. His most recent start against the White Sox came on Aug. 2, when he allowed two runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings and did not get a decision in Chicago's 6-4 victory.
Royals outfielder Whit Merrifield is riding a six-game hitting streak. He is hitting .455 (10-for-22) with one double and three RBIs during that span.
White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has at least one RBI in each of his past four games. He is hitting .341 (31-for-91) with seven doubles, nine home runs and 24 RBIs in his last 23 contests.