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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 1st (All times Eastern)

Kansas City Royals (0-0) at Chicago White Sox (0-0), 4:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Kansas City - James Shields (0-0, 0.00) Chicago - Chris Sale (0-0, 0.00)

(Sports Network) - For the first time in more than two decades the Kansas City Royals may become relevant again.

The Royals begin what they hope is a memorable season on Monday when they lift the lid on the 2013 campaign against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

For years we have heard how deep the Royals' farm system was. Little by little we have seen the fruits of their labors with the development of Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer.

Although their 72-90 record from a year ago may indicate otherwise, things are on the uptick for the Royals, who have improved their win total in each of the last four seasons. Their third place finish in the AL Central in 2012 was also the team's highest since 2003.

General manager Dayton Moore realized that the Royals are getting close and this offseason overhauled the starting rotation, acquiring righties James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana. That group combined with returning right-hander Jeremy Guthrie gives Kansas City as talented a rotation as there is in the American League.

"If you get too fired up, then the first little rough spot you've got, you lose interest,"manager Ned Yost said. "It can't happen. I like our team. I really like our team. I think we're going to be able to compete."

Shields, who will be on the hill Monday, may not have the dominating stuff that Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez or even his former teammate David Price has. But he is a genuine staff leader who eats innings and can anchor a rotation.

However, his 4.76 ERA in 11 career appearances against the White Sox is his highest against any AL team.

Chicago, meanwhile, exceeded everyone's expectations in 2012. Yet its season still had to be considered a disappointment.

In first place for 117 days and the better part of the second half, the White Sox crumbled down the stretch and eventually lost control of the American League Central to the Detroit Tigers with two weeks to go in the season.

The 4-11 finish may have left a bad taste in most people's mouths, but still Robin Ventura's club ended the year 85-77 and was in playoff contention up until the final few games of the season.

First-year general manager Rick Hahn didn't make any drastic offseason changes, but he did re-sign former NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy, while letting popular clubhouse leader A.J. Pierzynski walk as a free agent.

Offensively, the club is still veteran heavy led by Paul Konerko, Alex Rios and boom-or-bust slugger Adam Dunn, while lefty Chris Sale hopes to follow up a breakout 2012 campaign.

Sale, who will be making his first-ever Opening Day start on Monday, went 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA and made the All-Star Game in his first season as a starter last year. However, he was just 6-6 after the break with a 4.32 ERA.

"My knees are shaking now just thinking about it," Sale said of his Opening Day start. "I'm definitely going to have to collect myself, stay focused and take a lot of deep breaths. The last couple of Opening Days, I've been a kid in a candy shop. And now, being part of it, it could be overwhelming, but I'm going to do everything to collect myself and stay on an even plane. You know it's going to be electric, though."

Kansas City took the season series last year, going 12-6.

04/01 10:23:12 ET

  • HSFB: Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Tonight at 11:35 on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: NC State at UNC

    Tomorrow at 12:58 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Mississippi State at Ole Miss

    Tomorrow at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at Baltimore

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: NC State at UNC

    Tomorrow at 12:30 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
Final
NCSU 60
BSU 54
Final
PIT 2
CAR 4
Final
CHA 101
GSW 106
Final
UF 64
UNC 75
 
3rd
TULSA 14
ECU 21
 
Final
BOS 102
CHI 109
Final
CHA 101
GSW 106
Final
TOR 102
DAL 106
 
Final
DET 88
MIL 104
 
Final
ATL 100
NOP 91
 
Final
HOU 85
LAC 102
 
Final
OKC 105
NYK 78
 
Final
IND 98
ORL 83
 
4th
SAN 102
SAC 88
 
3rd
DEN 77
PHO 55
 
2nd
POR 25
MEM 23
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MIN
Final
WMICH 21
NILL 31
Final
SMU 9
HOU 35
Final
IOWA 34
NEB 37
Final
SFLA 0
UCF 16
Final
MARS 66
WKENT 67
Final
KSU 27
AKR 24
Final
BGU 24
BST 41
Final
UMASS 21
BUF 41
Final
EMICH 16
TOL 52
Final
MIZZ 21
ARK 14
Final
SALABAMA 40
NAVY 42
Final
ARZ 42
ARST 35
Final
AFA 27
COLST 24
Final
UCLA 10
STAN 31
3rd
VT 10
UVA 13
 
3rd
TULSA 14
ECU 21
 
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
Final
KU 82
TENN 67
Final
TEXAM 87
NO 65
 
Final
NCAT 57
RAD 65
 
Final
GEOR 58
BUT 64
Final
BRO 81
PVU 71
Final
RIU 66
SCU 44
Final
NARZ 70
SOUTH 63
Final
DART 68
MAST 67
Final
WRST 59
FIU 61
Final
XAV 73
UTEP 77
Final
OSU 73
JMU 56
Final
TXSOU 71
LAM 59
 
Final
TAMCC 75
MVSU 66
 
Final
AKAN 51
MIZST 55
Final
BUCK 80
PSU 88
 
Final
PROV 72
YALE 66
Final
UGA 62
MINN 66
Final
WISC 69
OKLA 56
Final
Terriers 70
NORST 72
 
Final
PEAY 62
STEPH 83
Final
FSU 58
CSOU 47
 
Final
VALPO 66
DRAK 46
Final
CIN 69
MTST 51
Final
SDU 75
PRIN 65
Final
WASU 76
RICE 74
Final
CSFU 64
USCU 79
Final
GT 61
RIDE 54
 
Final
TXPA 79
ALAST 91
Final
NCSU 60
BSU 54
Final
TCU 57
BRAD 49
 
Final
WAKE 65
DELST 72
 
Final
HART 83
EMERSON 50
 
Final
STJ 66
GONZ 73
 
Final
CLEM 62
HIGH 59
 
Final
SYR 72
HC 48
 
Final
MD 61
MON 56
Final
JVST 74
SAV 71
 
Final
MIAMI 87
SALA 75
Final
RUTG 68
VANDY 65
 
Final
PETE 66
TENST 58
 
Final
MARS 59
CLST 68
 
Final
JST 56
HOF 86
 
Final
INDST 62
MEM 72
 
Final
UF 64
UNC 75
 
Final
LATU 77
SAMF 64
 
Final
TULA 71
SELA 61
 
Final
NEB 75
TENNM 64
 
Final
MISS 75
CREI 68
 
Final
PORT 64
MURST 61
 
2nd
MARQ 49
MSU 65
 
2nd
ARK 59
UNT 56
 
2nd
NCOL 69
STET 51
 
2nd
IND 69
UNCG 59
 
2nd
SJST 42
WMICH 61
 
2nd
MNTST 75
TXARL 55
 
Half
UVA 37
LAS 19
 
Half
STLU 27
MSST 37
 
Half
COLST 43
PAC 26
 
1st
UTAH 22
NDAK 12
 
10:30pm Tonight
ILL
BAY
10:30pm Tonight
UAB
UCLA
11:30pm Tonight
WASH
LBSU
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
MERC
Final
PHI 0
NYR 3
Final
ANA 1
CHI 4
Final
WAS 5
NYI 2
Final
PIT 2
CAR 4
Final
NJD 4
DET 5
 
Final
BUF 2
MON 1
 
Final
CLB 0
VAN 5
 
Final
BOS 2
WIN 1
 
Final
FLA 3
OTT 2
 
3rd
STL 3
EDM 3
 
3rd
DAL 3
MIN 3