The Royals started Friday's series opener at U.S. Cellular Field with an 8-4 lead in the series series and a 19-11 mark against the White Sox over the past two years.
"People want to talk about Detroit, but we're making sure these guys remain focused on the Royals, because it's a quick way to lose some games if you focus on other things," Ventura said. "They're good, they're playing well. You've got to make sure you're focused on the right stuff."
Focused or not, Chicago dropped the series opener, 7-5, after Kansas City, who has won six straight in the season series, put up two runs in the top of the ninth inning. The White Sox endured their eighth loss in 11 games but saw their division lead hold at one after the Tigers dropped a 3-2 decision to the Angels.
On Saturday afternoon, the White Sox will have to contend with the Royals' Bruce Chen. The lefty is 10-11 with a 5.28 ERA this season, including a 6.19 mark on the road, but he has given Chicago trouble over the past two seasons.
Chen has started against the White Sox eight times in that span, going 5-1 with a 3.02 ERA and helping the Royals to a 6-2 overall mark. In his two most recent confrontations with Chicago, both in August, the veteran went 2-0 and gave up four runs over 12 2/3 innings.
But Chen's last start, on Monday against the Rangers, was not so effective. He gave up four home runs in a game for the first time since 2006, surrendering a total of six runs in six innings.
"Bruce actually threw the ball pretty good. He was sharp, but [Texas] is a club that won't let you get away with mistakes like some clubs will," Royals manager Ned Yost said afterward. "You make a mistake and they're going to take advantage of it, and that was proved today with five home runs."
The White Sox will counter with lefty Chris Sale (15-6, 2.93 ERA), who has scuffled as of late while blowing past his career high for innings pitched. The first-year starter has allowed four earned runs in three of his past four outings, including one at Kansas City on Aug. 17.
Sale is 2-2 with a 3.25 ERA in four starts against the Royals this season. He will be pitching on five days' rest because of Thursday's off-day.
Royals: Perez displaying his all-around game
Catcher Salvador Perez set a career best in style on Friday, extending his hitting streak to 12 games by going 2-for-3 with a home run. The 22-year-old is hitting .313 with an .853 OPS in his second big league season, which didn't begin until June 22 because of injury.
But Perez also has excelled defensively, having set the Royals' single-season record with his Major League-best fourth pickoff on Thursday.
"He's the best [catcher I've managed]," Yost said. "His throwing, his intellect, his athleticism. Very, very solid behind the plate in every aspect defensively."
In eight September games, left fielder Alex Gordon has recorded two hits four times, including on Friday. He has hit safely in 14 of his past 16 contests, with 10 multi-hit performances.
White Sox: Ventura sees benefit of September baseball
Taking things one game at a time is a cliche, and according to White Sox manager Robin Ventura, it's an easier one to live by once September rolls around.
"It's right in front of you, it's there," he said. "You can see the end of the season, but it's easier to focus on one game at a time because they mean a little more as far as you can see what's going up and what's going down. During the season, I think guys sometimes will look ahead earlier in the season, and now its just focus on this."
Adam Dunn and Kevin Youkilis both were out of the lineup on Friday. Dunn aggravated a right oblique strain on Wednesday, and his return date is uncertain. Youkilis flew home to be with his wife for the birth of their child and is expected to miss Saturday's game as well.
Chen has an extensive history against several White Sox hitters. Among those is A.J. Pierzynski, whose .424 average (14-for-33) off Chen is his highest against any pitcher he has faced at least 25 times. On the other end of the spectrum, Alexei Ramirez has gone 2-for-24 (.083) off Chen.
The Royals' Billy Butler is the only hitter to homer three times off Sale and one of only two, along with the Tigers' Brennan Boesch, to homer twice.