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White Sox, Royals build for future as series opens

Sep 6, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA;  Chicago White Sox second baseman Lenyn Sosa (50) throws the ball to first base for a double play over Kansas City Royals Michael Massey (19) in the second inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of underperforming teams will look toward the future when the Chicago White Sox host the Kansas City Royals on Monday night to begin a three-game series.

Chicago (55-88) has fallen woefully short of expectations this season. The White Sox are coming off a 3-2 loss against the Detroit Tigers that officially eliminated them from the American League Central race, but it was a moment that seemed inevitable for months.

Now, the White Sox will need to win at least eight of their last 19 games to avoid 100 losses.

Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said he would take the final few weeks to get longer looks at young players and think about his roster construction for 2024. Grifol said he still wants his team to win games in the short term, but his focus is on the longer term.

For example, second baseman Lenyn Sosa started at third base on Sunday. Rookie catcher Korey Lee did not play but figures to get plenty of opportunities down the stretch as the team assesses his abilities.

“It’s just good to see things, to make difficult decisions a little more accurately in real time here in the big leagues, not in the minor leagues or spring training,” Grifol said. “But we’re focused on winning games as well.

“It hasn’t been a good season. We had high expectations coming in. So we flipped our focus to making sure we see what we need to see and at the same time competing.”

The same sentiment holds true for Kansas City (44-100), which has lost four straight games and holds the worst record in baseball. The Royals have been outscored by 187 runs this year, third-worst in the majors behind only the Oakland Athletics (minus-303) and Colorado Rockies (minus-222).

Royals manager Matt Quatraro said he is proud of his players despite the team’s poor record. Kansas City has gone 17-20 in one-run games this season and is 5-5 overall against the White Sox.

“These guys, they never quit,” Quatraro said. “We’ve been down in plenty of games, obviously, with the way the season has gone. And they battled to the end.”

The Royals will try to avoid loss No. 101 on Monday by turning to right-hander Brady Singer (8-10, 5.34 ERA), who is scheduled to make his 28th start of the year. Singer needs two more victories to match his career high from a season ago.

In his most recent outing, Singer allowed six runs on nine hits in five innings against the White Sox on Tuesday. He is looking for his first victory since Aug. 8 against Boston.

Singer is 3-2 with a 3.77 ERA in 11 career appearances (10 starts) against Chicago.

The White Sox are projected to counter on the mound with right-hander Dylan Cease (6-7, 4.98). The 27-year-old is scheduled to make his 30th start of the season.

Cease is coming off a no-decision Tuesday against the Royals. He gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.

In 14 career starts against Kansas City, Cease is 4-4 with a 3.52 ERA.

The White Sox are 28-40 at home this season; the Royals are 18-54 on the road.

–Field Level Media