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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

  • ACC: Clemson at NC State

    Wednesday at 9:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: NC State at Georgia Tech

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Arkansas at Florida

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Waste Management Phoenix Open

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • HSBB: Broughton at Leesville Road

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 620am

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Tampa Bay

    Tomorrow at 7:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: Duke at Notre Dame

    Wednesday at 7:30 pm on 620am

  • ACC: NC State vs. Clemson

    Wednesday at 9:00 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
7:00pm Tonight
NCCU
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
SYR
 
Final
CHI 84
MIA 96
Final
CLE 108
OKC 98
Final
NOP 109
DAL 106
Final
ORL 99
IND 106
Final
PHO 100
LAC 120
Final
ATL 112
MIN 100
Final
TOR 114
DET 110
Final
SAN 101
MIL 95
Final
GSW 114
BOS 111
Final
DEN 115
WAS 117
Final
LAL 87
HOU 99
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
POR
 
7:30pm Tonight
NYK
SAC
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
MIN
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
ORL
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
PHI
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
BOS
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
DEN
 
Final
UCONN 66
SFLA 53
Final
GT 62
BC 64
Final
VT 47
UVA 50
Final
OSU 82
IND 70
Final
UCF 46
CIN 56
Final
WICHS 74
DRAK 40
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
MAR 73
FAIR 67
 
Final
HART 61
MAINE 70
 
Final
MAN 71
MON 64
 
Final
PRIN 96
ROWAN 48
 
Final
SIENA 55
PETE 69
 
Final
RIU 53
BONA 48
Final
BING 54
USB 61
 
Final
MLOWELL 50
VERM 61
 
Final
BUT 77
SHU 57
Final
SALA 55
YALE 72
 
Final
PITT 68
LOU 80
Final
ILLST 53
NIOWA 54
Final
GTDNS 69
UMBC 55
 
Final
IONA 87
NIAG 64
 
Final
TENST 55
BEL 63
 
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
Final
VILL 71
CREI 50
Final
MD 68
NW 67
Final
UTAH 77
WASH 56
7:00pm Tonight
AMER
ARMY
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
CLST
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCCU
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
PBY
HIGH
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
SYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
DET
WRST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCAT
COPST
 
7:30pm Tonight
SCST
HAMP
 
7:30pm Tonight
COOK
HOW
 
7:30pm Tonight
NWST
NICST
 
8:00pm Tonight
NO
CARK
 
8:00pm Tonight
CAMP
GWEBB
 
8:00pm Tonight
FAM
MDES
 
8:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
MCNST
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAV
NORST
 
8:00pm Tonight
ABCHRIST
SHSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAM
STEPH
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
TAMCC
 
8:05pm Tonight
VALPO
UWMIL
 
8:30pm Tonight
ALAAM
ALCOR
 
8:30pm Tonight
ALAST
SOUTH
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARKPB
PVU
 
9:00pm Tonight
ISU
TEX
 
9:00pm Tonight
MVSU
TXSOU
 
Final
TEAMFOLI 12
TEAMTOEWS 17
Final
CARTER 28
IRVIN 32