The Royals were officially eliminated from the postseason with a 6-0 loss to the Mariners on Wednesday night, but they have a chance to finish with their best record since 1993 with a victory against the White Sox on Thursday night.
After a late West Coast start, the Royals will travel 1,730 miles to Chicago and arrive with the sunrise.
They'll send Jeremy Guthrie to the mound for the first of four games against the White Sox, and he'll be opposed by Andre Rienzo.
Guthrie has a career-high 14 wins and 12 losses this season and a 4.09 ERA through 32 starts. Guthrie dropped his last decision against Texas on Saturday in which he allowed three runs, seven hits and two walks in six innings.
"Jeremy threw the ball fine," manager Ned Yost said. "He got off track a little bit in the third, started flying open a little bit and just barely missing, but made the adjustment and got us through six."
Rienzo is set for his 10th Major League start and second against the Royals, whom he defeated for his first win on Aug. 21 in Kansas City. He's 2-2 this season with a 5.04 ERA.
Rienzo was scratched from his last scheduled start on Sept. 20 with a blister on his right finger, so he'll be working on 11 days' rest since he took a loss against Cleveland on Sept. 14. He allowed five runs on seven hits, including two home runs, in four innings. He also had four walks and two strikeouts.
"It's my fault I fell behind. I fell behind and gave the hitter an opportunity to hit me hard. No excuses," Rienzo said after the game. "I need to figure out things to help me. If I can figure them out, I know I'll make the ballclub next year. It's simple."
Royals: Shields set for Friday start
Royals right-hander James Shields pitched a bullpen session on Tuesday to test his bruised right elbow, which was hit with a line drive in his last start on Sunday.
"Pencil me in," Shields said after 26 pitches. "I threw about 94 [mph] in the bullpen, so I'm good to go."
Despite getting hit in the third inning of that Sunday start, he soldiered on to pitch eight shutout innings in the Royals' 10-inning, 4-0 victory.
"It's going great, man, it's real good," Shields said. "It's a little swollen, but it's actually gone down pretty good."
White Sox: Konerko hoping to return during final series
Paul Konerko missed the White Sox series finale with the Indians on Wednesday after fouling a Joe Smith pitch off the back of his right knee in the eighth inning Tuesday night. He expects to return in one of the White Sox final four games against the Royals this weekend.
"I will be fine," Konerko said. "I'll get back out there, I'm sure. It's not something I'm going to have to attend to or anything after we are done."
• Alejandro De Aza's 17th homer on Tuesday extended his career-high total and tied him with Ray Durham (2000) for the second most by a White Sox leadoff hitter in a season. Durham holds the franchise record with 19 in 1998.
• With his next save, Royals closer Greg Holland will take over the franchise single-season record. He currently has 45, which ties him with Dan Quisenberry (1983) and Jeff Montgomery (1993).
Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.