Chicago Kip Wells didn't see his start Saturday night as a playoff audition. Then again, he hasn't seen much of anything lately.
"I didn't have any premeditated thoughts about it. I've been moving out of my apartment and I don't have a TV. So it's hard to keep up with the word on the street on the playoff situation," Wells said after combining with fellow rookie Jon Garland to pitch eight strong innings in a 9-1 win over Kansas City.
With their pitching staff hit by injuries, the White Sox are looking for a few good arms as they get ready for the postseason. Wells and Garland certainly have the arms, but they've also been inconsistent as rookies are known to be.
Wells allowed five hits and a run in five innings Saturday night, while Garland three days past his 21st birthday allowed just one hit in three innings of relief.
Garland still doesn't like coming out of the bullpen, but will do whatever it takes to pitch in the postseason.
"If I can get on that (playoff) roster, I'll clean shoes if I have to," Garland said. "It's not my decision."
With projected Game 1 playoff starter Mike Sirotka suffering from a sore elbow and veterans Cal Eldred (elbow) and James Baldwin (shoulder) trying to overcome injuries, Wells and Garland are options.
"They didn't make it easy to make a decision," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said.
"Garland had one of the most impressive outings for any of our young pitchers this season. ... It's raised some different scenarios. It depends on what direction we got with Sirotka. It makes an interesting situation."
Jose Valentin hit two homers, one from each side of the plate, giving him a career-high 25 for the season. Paul Konerko added a solo shot as Chicago won its 95th game.
"It's time to get everything together for the postseason," Valentin said, noting the White Sox lost five straight after clinching the AL Central before winning the last two.
"We have to play the game like we have all year."
Joe Crede hit a two-run double off Blake Stein (8-5) in the second. Valentin homered in the third, and Konerko hit his 21st in the fourth. Ray Durham had an RBI single in the sixth off reliever Dan Murray.
Valentin homered in the third batting from the left side. In the eighth, he hit his first right-handed homer of the season.
The Royals' Joe Randa had an RBI single in the first before Wells (6-9) overcame a shaky start that included two singles and a walk.
Notes: Sirotka will throw on the side today to test his elbow. ... Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk, who played his final 13 years with the White Sox, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Harold Baines, his teammate on Chicago's 1983 playoff team. ... The Royals are 6-5 this season against the White Sox headed into today's regular-season finale.