Garcia has a balky knee but wants to keep playing and believes he can manage the pain without it affecting his performance. While Manager Rick Renteria seems on board with letting Garcia continue to play through the issue, he left the door open for the team to potentially shut him down early if Garcia continues to scuffle, saying “if it becomes so problematic that you can’t perform, then obviously we can (react) at that point.” Garcia will have the knee scoped in the offseason.
The Chicago White Sox will attempt to bounce back from a disappointing loss when they face the Kansas City Royals in the rubber match of a three-game series on Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Chicago (45-77) is coming off a 3-1 loss to the Royals in which it squandered several key scoring opportunities. The biggest miscue came when outfielder Adam Engel failed to put down a bunt with two strikes. He fouled it off for strike three.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria wants Engel — and all of his players — to learn from those mistakes going forward.
“Every single major league hitter should know how to bunt,” Renteria said to the Chicago Sun-Times. “And I make no bones about that. That ball has got to get down. It didn’t work out. He didn’t get it down. He was frustrated about it. It’s not that he didn’t want to get it down, he just didn’t get it down. …
“It’s a good place. We have a critical situation, a moment in which you have to focus and concentrate and do your job. These are the tests that we put all our men through because a situation is demanded of them.
“If he’s able to get it down, to slow the game down enough to do his job there, he’ll be able to slow it down and do it when it’s really, really important, which could be a playoff game, could be a wild-card game, could be a postseason game.”
Those days could be on the horizon for the White Sox, but this season is about player development. Chicago has lost seven of its last 11 games and has scored one run or fewer 23 times this season.
Kansas City (38-85) has struggled even worse. The Royals are coming off only their fourth win in the past 16 games.
Royals outfielder Alex Gordon will look to start a hot streak at the plate after homering in Saturday’s victory. The blast marked Gordon’s first home run since Aug. 1. Seven of his eight homers this season have come on the road.
Meanwhile, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu carries a five-game hitting streak into the series finale. The Cuban native is hitting .344 (33-for-96) with eight doubles, nine home runs and 24 RBIs in his past 24 games.
White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (4-9, 4.40 ERA) will make his 25th start of the season. The talented 24-year-old has gone seven starts without a victory, with his last win coming July 1 against the Texas Rangers. He is 0-4 with a 6.20 ERA since.
In six career starts against the Royals, Lopez is 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA. He has five walks and 20 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings.
Fillmyer has faced the White Sox once in relief, allowing one run in 2 1/3 innings for a 3.86 ERA.
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.
Delmonico went 2 for 4 and had a career-high five RBIs. Tim Anderson went 3 for 3 with a walk and two stolen bases for Chicago, which has won eight of 14.
Abreu’s homer was his 22nd. The White Sox have homered in a season-high nine straight games, totaling 13 during that stretch.
James Shields (5-14) allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings to snap a five-start winless streak.
Whit Merrifield went 2 for 2 with two walks and an RBI for the Royals.
Yoan Moncada, who was inserted back into the leadoff spot on Friday, started the rally in the seventh with a walk. Yolmer Sanchez then followed with a slow grounder to shortstop that Alcides Escobar booted for an error – snapping the Royals’ 16-game errorless streak.
Right-hander Jason Adam came on to replace Tim Hill (1-4) and Abreu hit the first pitch into the left-center bleachers to give the White Sox a 5-3 lead.
Chicago wasn’t through. After Matt Davidson struck out for the first out, Leury Garcia singled and stole second. After Omar Narvaez walked, Anderson singled to drive in Garcia and make it 6-3. Delmonico then followed with his three-run blast into the right-field bleachers.
Kansas City took a 3-0 lead in the third on run-scoring singles by Merrifield and Salvador Perez, and a sacrifice fly by Alex Gordon.
Chicago got a run back in the fourth. Anderson walked with two outs and none on, stole second and scored on Delmonico’s single.
Anderson then chased Royals starter Jakob Junis with a one-out double in the sixth. After Hill came on, Anderson stole second and scored on Delmonico’s grounder to third to make it 3-2.
White Sox C Welington Castillo began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday, going 1 for 4 as the DH in a 4-3, 10-inning loss to Louisville. Castillo, 31, was suspended for 80 games on May 24 for violating MLB’s drug policy. He is eligible to return to the majors on Thursday when Chicago begins a four-game series at Detroit.
Manager Rick Renteria said Castillo will resume his role as the No. 1 catcher if he’s physically up to the task. ”We’ll see how he’s doing when he gets here and then we’ll move forward,” Renteria said.
Royals: OF Brian Goodwin (left groin strain) continued his rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha as the DH on Friday. After a day off on Saturday, the plan is for Goodwin to play five innings in the outfield on Sunday.
White Sox: Garcia (strained left hamstring) was activated from the 10-day DL before the game. He entered in the third inning, replacing RF Avisail Garcia, who apparently wasn’t injured. OF Ryan LaMarre was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte following Wednesday’s game at Detroit, opening the roster spot.
Chicago RHP Dylan Covey (4-9, 6.06 ERA) looks to snap out of an extended rough stretch on Saturday night in the second game of the series. Covey is 1-8 with an 8.94 ERA in his last 10 starts. RHP Brad Keller (5-5, 3.40) pitches for the Royals after allowing just one run in seven innings against Toronto in last start on Monday.
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Manager Rick Renteria had Moncada back at the top of the order for Friday night’s series opener against the Royals, even though Moncada was 4-for-16 with two walks and nine strikeouts in five games since he was dropped to the bottom third of the order a week ago.
“Regardless of what everyone wants to look at, he still has a really good eye,” Renteria said. “He’s a guy (who) can get on base. Put him up there again and see how he responds.”
Moncada was batting .219 with a .301 on-base percentage entering Friday, including totals of .144 and .264 since the All-Star break. He had struck out 31 times in his last 60 plate appearances, raising his majors-leading total to 172. Moncada is on pace for 232 strikeouts, which would break Mark Reynolds’ single-season record of 223 in 2009.
“We’ll continue to maneuver and manage that situation for him,” Renteria said. “As long as we don’t feel or I don’t feel he’s really being hindered in terms of his confidence and things of that nature, we’ll continue to do what we can to help him out.”
Extra innings: Welington Castillo, who is eligible to be activated Thursday after his 80-game PED suspension ends, had a single and walk in five plate appearances as he began a rehab stint at Triple-A Charlotte … Pitching coach Don Cooper held a clinic Friday morning for members of the Sox’s Amateur City Elite youth program … The return of Leury Garcia should make it easy for players to get rest, which Renteria says will be important as the Sox began a stretch of 20 games without a break. Monday had been scheduled as an off day, but they will play a makeup game in Minnesota.
Phil Rogers is a freelance reporter for the Chicago Tribune.
Davidson is 16-for-40 with eight homers against the Royals this season. Rick Renteria is using him as the designated hitter in the opener of a three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field, batting him cleanup between Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia.
Here’s Renteria’s lineup behind James Shields:
A. Garcia RF
Phil Rogers is a freelance reporter for the Chicago Tribune.