White Sox better, but still out to improve

Sox better, but still out to improve

KANSAS CITY -- The month of May closes out Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium with a less-than-desirable challenge for the White Sox in the form of Kansas City starter Zack Greinke.

But the South Siders aren't basing the month's analysis on how they perform against the American League's early front-runner for the Cy Young Award in the series finale. The general consensus among the team is that the White Sox are moving in the right direction as June nears, with eight wins in their past 11 games and four straight series victories.

"It seems like we are on a better roll the last week or two," said White Sox starter Mark Buehrle, who pitched a typical Buehrle-like game by allowing three runs over 7 2/3 innings Saturday, striking out six and giving the White Sox a chance to win. "Our starting pitching is keeping us in it. Our offense is hitting the heck out of the ball. It seems like everything is coming together."

"What happens in the beginning [of May] is already gone, but it was a great comeback," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of the team's strong finish to May. "We have to worry about what we're going to do from now all the way to the end of the season."

A look at the White Sox 12-15 record in May indicates a less-than-stellar month. But considering that the South Siders started with 12 losses in their first 16 games, Guillen's comeback description seems exceedingly accurate.

With the White Sox going home for 12 consecutive games starting Monday, including seven against the A's and Indians, the AL's two worst teams, they have a chance to put together a significant run in Chicago's warm June weather. If the White Sox put themselves in serious contention, there's no question general manager Ken Williams will do whatever it takes to move his team a step or two further.

Take Friday's late-night trade, as an example. It might seem minor in the grand scheme of things, adding backup catcher Ramon Castro for middle reliever Lance Broadway, but with all due respect to Corky Miler, Castro gives the White Sox a greater presence with the glove and with the bat in games which A.J. Pierzynski doesn't start. Guillen knows that Williams isn't finished with roster adjustments if other needs arise.

Williams could shoot for something greater than simply feeling needs, as shown by his pursuit of the Padres' Jake Peavy.

"That's what he always tried to do, try to get players to fit the roles and what we need to get better to improve what we have," Guillen said. "That's our goal.

"Jose [Contreras] is coming next week, on the 8th, hopefully to improve this club. It's still early to see where this ballclub is at."

More information might be known about the team after this next homestand. Guillen is glad to be entering June and putting May behind him, despite the month's impressive close.

"I couldn't wait for May to be over," Guillen said. "Our May was pretty bad. A lot of inconsistency, bad games, family problems on my side.

"Right now, we're playing pretty good. Sometimes you put doubts into yourself into who you can be. Everyone in this club has confidence they can compete.

"I'm happy with what I have," Guillen said. "With the way we play right now, I will take my chances with this club."

Pitching matchup
CWS: LHP John Danks (4-3, 4.59 ERA)
There was no hiding the fact that Danks was not sharp in his start Monday night at Angel Stadium, beginning a six-game road trip covering seven days for the White Sox. But the left-hander battled through six innings to earn the victory, while benefiting from 17 runs and 24 hits of support. Danks gave up three runs to the Angels in the first inning but did not allow another run over the next five, exiting with 112 pitches and just 58 for strikes. The left-hander completes the road trip and the month of May for the White Sox, pitching on an extra day of rest at Kauffman Stadium. Danks has no record against the Royals in one start this season and has a 1-0 lifetime mark in five starts when facing Kansas City.

KC: RHP Zack Greinke (8-1, 0.84 ERA)
Greinke dazzled again in his previous start, against Detroit. The Royals' ace had command of all four of his pitches and threw his fifth complete game of the season. Greinke allowed just one run while striking out eight. The Royals right-hander still hasn't allowed a home run in 103 innings, and Greinke's only loss came on May 9, when he went eight innings and gave up one run against the Angels. Greinke, who has nine quality starts, is 2-0 against the White Sox. He threw six scoreless innings in Chicago on April 8, then backed that up with a shutout on May 4. Greinke is also undefeated (6-0) at Kauffman Stadium this season.

Despite posting a 2.81 ERA over 10 starts for Triple-A Charlotte, Wes Whisler wasn't exactly sitting around and waiting for his contract to be purchased prior to Saturday's game against the Royals. "I wasn't expecting it, but you never know," said the left-handed starter turned long reliever, after arriving at Kauffman Stadium to begin the first Major League stint of his career. "I'm just going to go out there and control what I can control. I'm happy to be here and help out anyway possible." ... The White Sox have gone a season-high eight games without making an error, their longest streak since Sept. 9-17, 2006. The team has a 17-10 record this season when playing error-free baseball ... The White Sox and Royals paid tribute to the Negro Leagues on Saturday, wearing throwback uniforms representing the Chicago Americans and the Kansas City Monarchs ... Alexei Ramirez is 15-for-34 in his last eight games ... Josh Fields has hit safely in six straight games, posting a .417 average during that stretch. ... Jim Thome now has 125 RBIs in 169 career games against the Royals ... Paul Konerko is hitting .361 in his last 18 games ... Chris Getz recorded an RBI for the second straight game, after having none in his previous 21 games.

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Up next
• Monday: White Sox (Bartolo Colon, 3-4, 3.80) vs. Athletics (Trevor Cahill, 2-5, 4.45), 7:11 p.m. CT
• Tuesday: White Sox (Gavin Floyd, 3-5, 6.12) vs. Athletics (TBD), 7:11 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: White Sox (Clayton Richard, 2-0, 3.38) vs. Athletics (Josh Outman, 2-0, 3.06), 7:11 p.m. CT

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.