CHICAGO -- Burch Smith had hoped to go deeper into his first major league start of the season and his first in five years when he took the mound earlier this week.
But considering the arm issues that have hampered the Kansas City Royals right-hander throughout his baseball career, Smith is doing what he can to impact the team's depleted starting rotation the best he can.
Smith (0-0, 5.83 ERA) will get his chance to take another step forward on Sunday when the Royals wrap up the first half of the season against the Chicago White Sox. Kansas City will attempt to capture its first series victory since the end of May in the matinee at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Smith, a Rule 5 pick, received a no-decision when he pitched 3 1/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins before reaching his 71 pitch limit, 52 of which went for strikes. Smith will make the first start against the White Sox of his career.
"The plan was to get ahead and stay ahead. I think we did a pretty good job of executing that game plan," Smith told reporters after his outing when he allowed four runs and seven hits while striking out four.
"A couple of pitches I'd like back, a couple of curveballs that were a little too hittable. I also wish I could have gone deeper in the game so the bullpen didn't have to cover so many innings. But fairly pleased with the way it went."
Royals manager Ned Yost, who is down to Danny Duffy -- the lone healthy starter from the opening-day roster -- liked what he saw.
"He did a really good job with the balls-to-strikes ratio, was ahead in the count," Yost told reporters. "He was throwing strikes, which you wanted to see."
Saturday's 5-0 victory was just the Royals' second in their past 14 games and snapped Chicago's meager two-game winning streak. Duffy pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed four hits while striking out eight to set Kansas City up for the series victory on Sunday.
Lucas Gilolito (5-8, 6.59) will start for the White Sox. He is in search of his first victory since June 22. Giolito has only one win in his past six outings and has struggled this month when he has allowed nine runs in his two starts in July.
Giolito is 2-0 with a 2.52 ERA in four career starts against the Royals.
The White Sox may be without second baseman Yoan Moncada, who left Saturday's loss in the fifth inning with a right knee bruise after he collided with Paulo Orlando in a rundown on a pickoff play. He is listed as day to day.
According to the team's official website, x-rays were negative after Moncada was helped off the field.
Like the rest of his teammates, Moncada's first half hasn't gone as well as he hoped when the season started. But like others within the organization, the young talent is hoping for better things in the second half.
"It hasn't been as good as I wanted it to be," Moncada told reporters on Friday, according to the Chicago Tribune. "But it hasn't been as bad as you can think. It has been a challenging first half, but I've been learning a lot and working. I think the second half is going to be much better."