The Royals are going to have to pick it up against their American League Central Division rivals if they're going to make a run at the postseason. After their loss to the White Sox on Tuesday night, their record within the Central is just 5-15.
"It's always important to have success against teams in your division. But it's important to have success every day. We don't look and say, 'Oh, we're going to really amp up our effort today because this team is in our division,'" manager Ned Yost said. "We come to the ballpark every day looking for ways to win today. That's what we mainly focus on. It doesn't matter who our opponent is."
But it certainly helps to beat the Central clubs. The Royals are 2-3 against the White Sox, but 0-5 against Detroit, 1-3 against Cleveland and 2-4 against Minnesota. They'll get another crack at reversing their fortunes against AL Central foes in Wednesday's series finale against the White Sox, who won the first two games of the current series.
"We haven't played good against Detroit, that's for sure. That's five losses right there," Yost said. "We have not played good against Cleveland and, quite frankly, we haven't played very good against Minnesota. ... I hope that reverses itself in the near future."
Yost's club will look to jump on White Sox starter Jose Quintana, who holds a 3.00 ERA in three May starts. Quintana said he's done a better job of locating both his fastball and changeup this month than he did in April, during which he had a 4.00 ERA in six starts. He worked five innings in his last start, Friday against the Astros in Houston, allowing two earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
"I want to continue to do my job, throw a long game and keep the game close and give the team a chance to win," Quintana said.
Kansas City's struggles against the division is in contrast to last season, when they went 44-32 against the Central. Only against Cleveland did they have a losing record (9-10).
This season, they have some catching up to do.
"I take a look at a lot of teams and there are not a lot of teams out there that are better than we are," Yost said.
White Sox: Guerra thrust into bullpen
If there truly is no rest for the weary, then Javy Guerra is a good example.
Guerra was informed at 1:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday that he was to join the White Sox in Kansas City to take the bullpen spot vacated by closer Matt Lindstrom, who sustained an injury to the outside tendon of his left ankle on Monday.
"As of now, I just know that I'm one of the guys in the 'pen," Guerra said. "I get to go out there and compete and earn whatever you get."
Guerra, who was claimed off waivers by the Sox on March 26, posted a 2.33 ERA in 19 1/3 innings pitched with Triple-A Charlotte prior to his callup. He also earned three saves, so he could potentially fill in as closer in Lindstrom's absence.
"I don't really think we have a set role at Charlotte," Guerra said. "It's really just making sure guys get in, and making sure they know the situations. I think there were a couple of times I went out there in the ninth, but I wouldn't buy as much into it."
Royals: Guthrie looks to end drought
Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie hasn't won a game since his second start of the season when he stood 2-0. He's winless in his last seven starts and will look to end the drought when he opposes Quintana on Wednesday.
In those seven games, he's gone 0-3 with an ERA of 5.09, but he's had some fine outings. On April 26 at Baltimore, he gave up just two runs in seven innings but the Orioles won, 3-2, in 10 innings. On May 6 at San Diego, he allowed just one run in eight innings, but the Royals won, 3-1, in 11 innings.
He's 8-7 in his career against the White Sox, but 5-2 since joining the Royals with a 2.60 ERA in 10 starts. That includes this year's home opener at Kansas City, when he gave up four earned runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win.
• White Sox captain Paul Konerko hit seventh in Tuesday's game, his first start below the No. 6 spot since 2004.
• Alex Gordon scored his 501st career run in Tuesday's game, tying him with David DeJesus for 10th on the Royals' all-time list. Johnny Damon is next with 504.
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.