Chicago maintains sole possession of first place over Detroit, but the White Sox are 4-10 against their closest competitor. They also have a 4-8 mark against the Royals, including 2-4 at home.
Chicago will look for a turnaround in that matchup when Kansas City opens a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday night. The White Sox have lost seven of their last 10, but bounced back from Tuesday's 18-9 loss to the Twins to win on Wednesday and claim a series victory to start their 10-game homestand.
The Royals, who are beginning a six-game road trip, will send Luis Mendoza to the mound against Francisco Liriano in the opener.
Mendoza (7-9, 4.48 ERA) has pitched in four games and started three against the White Sox this season, going 2-2 with a 2.96 ERA. In his last start against Chicago, on Aug. 17 in Kansas City, he gave up two runs on four hits and six strikeouts in seven innings.
The right-hander has not lasted more than five innings in any of his past three outings, compiling a 6.28 ERA in that span. On Sunday against the Twins, he exited after throwing 84 pitches -- 49 for strikes -- while giving up two runs. Manager Ned Yost elected to go to southpaw Tim Collins to start the sixth against the lefty-leaning middle of Minnesota's order, also noting that Mendoza was laboring.
"He's a guy that traditionally gets quick outs, so when you look up at that board out there and see he's got 85 pitches after five innings, you know it's been tough for him," Yost said. "But he battled through it and did a great job."
Liriano (5-11, 5.11) is 2-1 with a 4.54 ERA in seven starts with the White Sox, allowing two runs or fewer five times. He has allowed five earned runs in 11 1/3 innings against the Royals this season.
The lefty battled his control on Saturday at Detroit, throwing 100 pitches and walking seven in four innings, while giving up three runs.
"My last three starts, [I] just have been walking a lot of guys, getting behind in the count too much and [getting] 3-2 counts almost every hitter," Liriano said. "A couple mistakes, too. I need to get better and [have] more control and hit my spots and throw more strikes and get ahead in the count."
Royals: Perez sets catching pickoff record
Just two nights removed from taking the Major League lead for catchers with his third pickoff of the season, Royals catcher Salvador Perez increased his total to four and established a Royals single-season record for backstops by nabbing Craig Gentry at first base in the fifth inning of Thursday's series finale against the Rangers.
Gentry had singled two at-bats earlier, and with Michael Young at the plate, he took a large lead off first base. After Luke Hochevar's second pitch to Young was called a ball, Perez fired down to first baseman Eric Hosmer, who applied the tag on Gentry for the third out.
The four pickoffs are the most by a Royals catcher. Perez matched the previous record of three last season, joining John Buck (2005) and Darrell Porter (1977).
White Sox: A new role for Hudson
Orlando Hudson wasn't in the lineup for Chicago's game on Wednesday afternoon, which is something the 11-year veteran will have to get used to over the season's final month.
After signing with the White Sox in mid-May, Hudson made 25 starts at third base. But with Kevin Youkilis now in the fold, Hudson's starting opportunities figure to be limited mostly to second base, where Gordon Beckham could sit against some tough right-handed pitchers.
Since returning from a Minor League rehab assignment last Saturday, Hudson has started once at second and appeared in two games off the bench, going 2-for-8 with a triple overall.
"I just have to be ready at any time," Hudson said. "[Robin] Ventura is the manager. So, whenever he calls on me, I have to be ready."
Mendoza's 4.94 road ERA is nearly a run higher than his 3.96 mark at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals are 23-19 in one-run games this year, tallying the second-most wins in one-run contests in the American League.