Jose Quintana has been remarkably consistent for much of the season after a rough first couple of months. A win against Kansas City has remained elusive, however.
He'll look to end one of the worst individual pitching slumps against one opponent in history Sunday as the Chicago White Sox visit the Royals.
Quintana (6-9, 3.50 ERA) gave up five or more runs three times while going 2-5 in his first nine starts. Since then, he has recorded quality starts in 12 of 13 games.
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The only non-quality outing in that span came against Kansas City, however, as the left-hander surrendered four runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 7-6, 13-inning home loss July 18. The White Sox rallied in the ninth to take him off the hook for a loss, as he remained 0-6 with a 4.63 ERA in 15 all-time matchups without a decision in three meetings this year.
Only six other pitchers since 1914 have failed to record a win in at least their first 15 starts against a single opponent, and three, Herm Wehmeier against St. Louis, and Don Larsen and Joe Mays against Cleveland, finished their careers winless against that club.
Quintana is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three starts since last facing the Royals, including his first career complete game his next time out at Cleveland.
He'll be dealing with a lineup that continues to come up big in key situations. The Royals (65-44) put themselves in position for a three-game sweep by going 4 for 8 with runners in scoring position in Saturday's 7-6 win, and are batting .326 in those situations over their last eight contests.
Kansas City got two hits and two RBIs apiece from Kendrys Morales and Salvador Perez, while Lorenzo Cain hit safely for the 16th time in 17 meetings. Cain, who is batting .412 with 15 RBIs in that span, is hitting .368 with 13 extra-base hits in his last 20 home games.
Cain is batting .357 off lefties this season and is 5 for 8 with two doubles against Quintana this year.
Chicago (51-57) was led by two solo shots from Jose Abreu, but fell to 3-9 in the season series. The White Sox's six-game losing streak in Kansas City is their longest there since dropping eight in a row Aug. 26, 1984-Sept. 4, 1985.
"This one, when you score that many against these guys, you have to kind of earn it," manager Robin Ventura said. "For them, they put the runs up. It's our job to try to stop them, and right now it's just not happening."
The Royals turn to a southpaw as well in Danny Duffy (5-5, 4.04), who has completed six or more innings while allowing two runs or fewer in five of his last six outings. He bounced back from a five-run, three-homer start by limiting Detroit to one run over seven innings in a 5-1 victory Tuesday, though he walked four for the second straight time.
Duffy is 1-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three matchups with Chicago this year, most recently holding the White Sox to one run over a career-best eight-plus innings in a 4-1 win July 19.
Chicago's .342 slugging percentage versus left-handers ranks last in the AL, though Abreu is 5 for 13 with a home run and double against Duffy.