The Chicago White Sox (13-10) travel to Kauffman Stadium for a four-game set with the Kansas City Royals (7-16). 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
Seems like just a week ago the White Sox took on Kansas City Royals starters Jason Vargas, Danny Duffy and Nate Karns. Wait. What? Oh yeah. It was a week ago the White Sox on took this exact trio of Royals starters and put up 13 runs on the three of them en route to outscoring the Royals 27-8 before taking two of three from the Detroit Tigers.
As we get set for a bit of déjà vu, a couple of players on offense to keep an eye on are Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier.
For Abreu, who is slashing out at .484/.556/.871 with seven extra-base hits over his last nine games, the difference is in his plate discipline. He seems to be staying away from pitches low and away much more than he was earlier in the season, allowing the barrel of his bat to find the baseball with more regularity. Frazier has been on an equally torrid pace, putting up a .304/.393/.739 slash line with four doubles, nine RBI and two home runs since the start of the Royals series last week. Would be quite nice to see each of them remain hot.
Someone else to pay attention to is Dylan Covey. If he keep the ball in the zone against the Royals, the chances are quite good he’ll earn his first big league victory as they aren’t particularly good at hitting balls in the zone. If control eludes him, however, he could give a moribund offense needed momentum at the start of a long series.
Losers of nine in a row and 10 of their last 11, the Royals are adrift in the American League.
Offensively, they are woeful. Sure, they’ve put up nine combined runs in the last two games, but have scored a worrisome 26 runs over their last 12 contests. Some quick arithmetic tells us that’s not good. The problems run deep.
Consider, they are last in runs (63), hits (161), doubles (20), batting average (.210), on-base percentage (.270) and slugging (.336). And there is no end in sight. We imagine they will try to get to the White Sox starting pitchers early, but with Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Brandon Moss comfortably below .600 OPS, they have their work cut out.
The pitching staff isn’t much better. Sure, the starters are tied with the Texas Rangers for first in the AL with a 3.38 ERA, but they’ve allowed at least five runs in seven of their last eight games. And the bullpen ranks 13th in the American League in ERA (5.67), 12th in FIP (4.34) and is dead last in K-BB% (5.9). It’s looked as bad as the numbers indicate.
If the Royals have any chance in this series, Vargas and Duffy are going to have to right the ship in games one and two. If they don’t go at least six solid in their starts, the White Sox should be able to take another series from an AL Central foe as Nate Karns is entirely hittable and Ian Kennedy has an unsustainable .184 BABiP.
Where to Watch and Listen
Monday: 7:15 p.m., CSN-Chicago
Tuesday: 7:15 p.m., WGN
Wednesday: 7:15 p.m., CSN-Chicago+ (check local listings)
Thursday: 1:15 p.m., CSN-Chicago
*All games on WLS-AM 890
Monday: RH Dylan Covey (0-1, 6.91 ERA) vs. LH Jason Vargas (3-1, 1.40 ERA)
Tuesday: LH Jose Quintana (1-4, 5.22 ERA) vs. LH Danny Duffy (2-1, 2.81 ERA)
Wednesday: RH Mike Pelfrey (0-1, 5.00 ERA) vs. RH Nate Karns (0-2, 6.26 ERA)
Thursday: LH Derek Holland (2-2, 2.17 ERA) vs. Ian Kennedy (0-2, 2.30 ERA)
*In which I take random stabs at calling the result ahead of time. One of these has to be right. Eventually.
Monday: Vargas tries to nibble the corners and gets bit. The Royals can’t seem to find a way to get to Covey. Sox win
Tuesday: Quintana has his second straight quality start against the Royals. Duffy pitches better but gives up a couple home runs. Sox win
Wednesday: Pelfrey is Pelferized. Sox lose
Thursday: Holland does his thing, pitching into the seventh. Ian Kennedy’s curve doesn’t curve, and his fastball leaves the yard a couple times. Sox win
Unless otherwise noted, advanced statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs.
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