The Chicago White Sox settle into a nine-game homestand following living out of their suitcases since the All-Star break. Despite being the visitors in 16 of the last 19 games, Chicago returns to U.S. Cellular Field on top of the AL Central by 2.5 games.
It doesn't get any easier for the White Sox, even in familiar surroundings.
Opening and closing the home stand are the American League's two wild-card leaders. The Los Angeles Angels face Chicago in the first game of a weekend series Friday night. Oakland is in town next weekend.
Both the Angels and A's are coming off series losses to Texas and Toronto, respectively. Los Angeles is sending recent pickup Zack Greinke to the mound Friday, followed by Ervin Santana and Dan Haren. The White Sox run out Philip Humber, Gavin Floyd and Francisco Liriano needing repeat performances of their previous starts.
Sandwiched between Los Angeles and Oakland is a three-game set with Kansas City. The Royals have plummeted to the bottom of the division but just swept the Indians. Chicago has split the six games between the two clubs.
Sure, the visitors from the West Coast have to be dealt with, but the Royals have proven a pesky opponent. The White Sox lost 11 of 18 meetings with Kansas City a season ago and have to beat a weaker division rival in order to stay ahead of Detroit.
Chicago swept the Twins in its last home appearance and have taken seven of their last 10 games. The White Sox have scrambled back to the top of the heap after being unseated by a sweep at the hands of the Tigers two weeks ago.
Chris Sale is scheduled to start the second game of the Royals series on Tuesday. If his arm benefits from a 10-day rest and the rest of the staff turn in solid starts, we can expect Chicago to build on their 27-22 home record.