White Sox set Opening Day lineup

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White Sox set Opening Day lineup

Via MLB.com's Scott Merkin, here's Robin Ventura's first major-league lineup card:

So Brent Morel is the Opening Day No. 2 hitter, with Adam Dunn hitting third. No surprises there -- having A.J. Pierzynski hit second would mean three lefties would hit in a row, which would get to be a problem late in games against left-handed relievers.

And Ventura passed his first test: All the names are spelled correctly. Now let's play ball tomorrow.

Jimmy Rollins remains confident despite slow start for White Sox

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Jimmy Rollins remains confident despite slow start for White Sox

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jimmy Rollins isn’t happy with his offensive production so far this season. But a slow start hasn’t made the veteran White Sox shortstop any less confident.

Through 142 plate appearances this season, Rollins is hitting .231/.289/.346 with 10 extra-base hits and eight RBIs. But Rollins -- who has played in 33 games -- said prior to Thursday’s rainout he feels fresh. He also doesn’t see a huge difference between how he has been pitched in his first tour of the American League after 15-plus seasons in the National League.  

“I don’t think I’ve done enough,” Rollins said. “I could be hitting .400 and I’d still be wanting to hit .500. But I’m only .200 and some change. I haven’t done enough to help the team and I’ve had plenty of opportunities. The good thing is, that will change also as the season goes along and I start catching that rhythm again.”

Rollins has a career .825 OPS in 2,232 plate appearances with runners in scoring position.

This season he’s hitting at a .417 clip in 30 plate appearances with seven RBIs. Rollins also struggled with RISP in 2015, hitting .464. But he spent part of that season dealing with injuries.

Nearly 30 percent through the campaign, Rollins feels healthy.

He has appeared in 33 games as White Sox manager Robin Ventura has given him routine days off to stay sharp. Rollins likes how Ventura has employed those days off, sometimes two at a time to allow Tyler Saladino to develop a rhythm and get at-bats. So far, Rollins said his playing time is what he expected when he opted to sign with the White Sox instead of the San Francisco Giants and others.

As far as switching leagues, Rollins doesn’t know a lot of the pitchers he’s facing but he does know the hitters, which has helped him line up in good position. He thinks the defensive side is a more important component.

“I don’t think it really makes a tremendous difference (hitting),” Rollins said. “If you’re putting good swings on the ball, no matter what league you’re in, you’re going to get hits.”

He expects those hits will come shortly.

Before Thursday’s game was wiped out, Ventura dropped Rollins from second to sixth in the lineup for the second time in a week. Melky Cabrera was scheduled to start in the No. 2 hole and Jose Abreu hit there several times on the team’s last homestand.

“I’ll be able to contribute more and that’ll make the job easier on everybody,” Rollins said. “It goes down the line. One guy is doing good, hitting becomes contagious. The next guy wants to hit, the next guy wants to hit and that turns into nobody wants to make an out and then you grind out those at-bats and you find a way to execute. You might catch the ball, but I’m not making an out. And that’s the difference. Sometimes when you’re trying to get hits, it’s like pitching --- you’re trying to make the pitch. You’ll do whatever it takes, even if that means going outside your box, and when you do that you’re not going to be successful.”

White Sox opener with Royals postponed by rain

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White Sox opener with Royals postponed by rain

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The White Sox will remain in first place for at least another day.

With the Cleveland Indians off Thursday and their own contest washed away, the White Sox will maintain their half-game lead in the American League Central.

Set to open a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals, the White Sox instead received an unexpected day off as Thursday’s contest was rained out.

No makeup date has been announced, but a Royals spokesperson said the game wouldn’t be made up this weekend. The White Sox make two more trips to Kansas City later this season.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he wouldn’t make any changes to his rotation, which means Chris Sale will face the New York Mets on Monday instead of the Royals on Sunday.

Miguel Gonzalez, Carlos Rodon and Mat Latos will instead be pushed back one day, starting Friday with Gonzalez.

The Royals altered their rotation, removing Ian Kennedy from Saturday’s start. Thursday’s scheduled starter, Danny Duffy, will move back one day to Friday and Yordano Ventura will not pitch on Saturday. Edinson Volquez will start on Sunday as previously scheduled and Kennedy will start again on Monday. 

Struggling White Sox face daunting schedule

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Struggling White Sox face daunting schedule

It’s not about to get any easier for the White Sox.

A team that has lost 11 of its last 15 games and has had trouble at the plate is headed out on a three-city, 10-game road trip. The White Sox begin a four-game series at the Kansas City Royals on Thursday before playing three against the New York Mets. After a day off, the White Sox resume their trip with three at the Detroit Tigers starting next Friday.

It wouldn’t appear to be an easy recipe for a team that has lost its last five series and won only one of its last eight.

"There’s always a tough team on the other end of that," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We just have to regroup, whether it’s at home or on the road and do better at producing when you get opportunities and guys on base."

The White Sox have averaged 2.83 runs per contest over their last dozen. In that span, they’ve hit just .200 with runners in scoring position, going 18-for-90 with four doubles, a homer and 23 RBIs.

Ten of those games came at U.S. Cellular Field, where the White Sox went 3-7 on a homestand against the Houston Astros, Royals and Cleveland Indians. For the team to get back on track, it will have to tap into the formula it has used on the road so far. The White Sox are 14-9 on the road this season and have averaged 4.74 runs per game compared to 3.48 in 25 home games.

"We don’t mind playing on the road," outfielder Adam Eaton said. "We kind of come together as a team, an us-versus-the-world-type mentality that we kind of enjoy. It’s a long road trip. It’s always big going on the road, especially when you’re playing divisional opponents. But as I mentioned (earlier), I could really care less. We take it one game at a time, it doesn’t matter who’s on the mound, division or non-division, we want to win the game. We want to score more runs than the next guy. That’s how we’re going to continue to approach. It’s a solid approach in my opinion, and we’ve had success with it earlier in the season. We’ll try to get back to that, get the offense going."