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W:C.Sale(1-0) L:J.Shields(0-1) S:A.Reed (1)
HR: KAN- None CWS- T.Flowers (1)
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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

TV
  • NCAA: Division II Championship: Indiana (Pa.) vs. Florida Southern

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NCAAT: Teams TBD

    Sunday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

Scoreboard
Local
Final
WAS 110
CHA 107
 
Final
LOU 75
NCSU 65
1st
DUKE 14
UTAH 10
 
Final
ATL 4
BOS 2
Final
STL 5
NYM 4
Final
PHI 0
NYY 10
Final
MIN 2
PIT 4
Final
WAS 1
STL 1
4th
BAL 0
TAM 0
 
Final
TOR 4
DET 1
Final
CHC 6
CWS 3
Final
OAK 7
TEX 6
Final
ANA 2
ARI 7
Final
ARI 3
CLE 2
6:05pm Tonight
HOU 0
MIA 0
 
5th
KAN 5
SEA 0
 
1st
SDP 0
COL 0
 
1st
CIN 0
MIL 3
 
1st
LOS 0
SFG 0
 
Final
WAS 110
CHA 107
 
Final
ORL 97
DET 111
Final
PHI 98
LAC 119
Final
NYK 92
BOS 96
 
Final
BRK 106
CLE 98
Final
TOR 94
LAL 83
Final
ATL 99
MIA 86
Final
MEM 84
GSW 107
 
4th
HOU 115
MIN 101
 
Final
NOP 102
SAC 88
 
3rd
SAN 66
DAL 61
 
Half
DEN 52
UTA 39
 
1st
PHO 9
POR 9
 
Final
GONZ 74
UCLA 62
Final
LOU 75
NCSU 65
1st
DUKE 14
UTAH 10
 
1st
NARZ 5
KSU 9
 
1st
OKLA 0
MSU 0
 
3rd
MIN 3
CAL 1
 
2nd Intermission
CHI 2
CLB 4
 
1st Intermission
EDM 1
DAL 0