The Chicago White Sox (8-9) host the Kansas City Royals (7-11) for a three-game set. Here is our series preview, and be sure to check back for the latest preview on the afternoon of the first game of each series this season.
White Sox Preview
If the White Sox hope to take the series from the Royals, the offense is going to have to do a better job. There is no other way to look at it. Unfortunately, the offensive malaise isn’t likely to turn around.
Sure, they put up six runs against Danny Salazar and the Cleveland Indians Sunday afternoon. Those were the only six runs the club scored all series, though. And just look at how the offense is performing and where it ranks in the American League, per Fangraphs:
- AVG: .211 (15th)
- OBP: .274 (14th)
- wOBP: .268 (14th)
- SLG: .332 (14th)
- ISO: .121 (12th)
- wRC+: 71 (14th)
- R: 55 (14th)
- RBI: 52 (14th)
- K%: 24.6% (14th)
- BB%: 6.7 (14th)
That’s not going to win many ballgames. And there are zero reasons to believe things are going to change against Jason Vargas, Danny Duffy and company, especially if one of the team’s hottest hitters going into the Indians series, Matt Davidson (.324/.333/.676, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 36 PA), couldn’t even score a start. Gotta say, this is about as frustrating as it gets for a fan. We knew they weren’t going to be any good, but this is worse than the Greg Walker-led 2013 White Sox, and not letting the hot bat take swings against one of the better rotations in the AL isn’t a good look.
Thankfully for the pitching staff, the Royals are as bad or worse in many of the same areas as the White Sox. This series is a good time for the unit to bring down their horrendous FIP (4.34), which ranks 14th in the AL, trailing only the Detroit Tigers.
Losers of four straight, including two walk-off losses, to the Texas Rangers, the Royals come to town with their two best starters scheduled to appear in games one and two and an axe to grind. Unfortunately for the Royals, they are struggling as much as the White Sox.
Consider, outside Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez, the club has exactly four home runs in 18 games from their regulars. The lineup also features five players with at least 50 plate appearances who have an OPS at or below .528. And four of them are hitting below the Mendoza Line. It isn’t pretty.
On the mound, something to keep an eye on is whether or not Vargas can continue his early dominance. Let’s not forget his career ERA is comfortably over 4.00 and he has never had a three-start stretch featuring the control he’s demonstrated to this point. A correction is likely in order, though the White Sox may not be up to the task.
Should be a low-scoring series. Then again, I haven’t been right about much of anything to this point, so there will probably be an average of ten runs scored per contest with Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar going yard three times each. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Where to Watch and Listen
Monday: 7:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago
Tuesday: 7:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago
Wednesday: 1:10 p.m., WGN
*All games on WLS-AM 890
*In which I take random stabs at calling the result ahead of time. One of these has to be right. Eventually.
Monday: Gonzalez pitches a gem, carrying a four-hitter into the seventh. Vargas pitches well enough, but gives up a couple solo home runs. Sox win
Tuesday: Duffy owns. Covey does not. Sox lose
Wednesday: Quintana pitches brilliantly (I’m going to be right one of these times). Karns does, too. Sox lose on a D-Rob blown save
Follow General Soreness @matthewsmitbr