RECORDS: Royals 5-10 White Sox 5-9
GAMETIMES: Monday and Tuesday at 7:10, Wednesday 1:10
TV: NBCSN Monday and Wednesday, WGN Tuesday
WAITING FOR MAHOMES: Royals Review
PROBABLE ROYALS LINEUP
Whit Merrifield – RF
Adalberto Mondesi – SS
Alex Gordon – LF
Jorge Soler – RF
Ryan O’Hearn – 1B
Hunter Dozier – 3B
Chris Owings – 2B
Martin Maldanado – C
Billy Hamilton – CF
PROBABLY SOX LINEUP
Leury Garcia – CF
Yoan Moncada – 3B
Jose Abreu – DH
Yonder Alonso – 1B
Eloy Jimenez – LF
Tim Anderson – SS
Daniel Palka – RF
Yolmer Sanchez – 2B
After getting Eloy Jimenez on the board, and taking two of three from the vaunted but decrepit (at the moment) Yankees, the White Sox have a brief pitstop at home to face the drain-scraping Royals before heading back out onto the road. Not that the Sox are all that concerned with “momentum” or getting on a roll this year, but this would seem an excellent chance to string a couple series victories together after having their brains scooped out by the Rays last week.
Of course, that task gets a little trickier when it starts with Ervin Santana and his magical gasoline-ball. Santana was clubbed hard by the Rays last out, giving up seven runs in less than four innings of work. Santana was his own worst enemy with walks last out, which were a major problem for him in a brief cameo in Minnesota last year. This is what happens when you have just a place-holder in your rotation, as until some kid comes up to claim that spot you’re just going to have to white-knuckle through a lot of his turns.
Reynaldo Lopez hasn’t been much better, as he’ll be seeking his first quality start of the season in a Lopez Battle on Tuesday. Lopez also has been allergic to the strikezone, walking four in each of his starts. And in a continuing theme, Lucas Giolito will also try to spasm the right arm of an ump again, as after a promising season-opening start in KC he’s put up eight walks in two starts since. Perhaps the sky blue of the Royals will rekindle something in him.
The problem for the Sox is that the Royals aren’t the soft-landing, at least for pitchers, that you would have thought. Six regulars are putting up 100+ wRC+ at the moment, led by Alex Gordon who I could have sworn misplaced his intestines two years ago and would fold in on himself at the sight of any half-decent fastball. He’s cut out a huge chuck of Ks and is hitting the ball harder than he has at any point in his career. The difference appears to be a great improvement in plate discipline, as he’s cut down on the amount of swings at pitches out of the zone while upping the swings and contact in it, and well a .640 SLG is the result.
He’s not alone as Merrifield and Mondesi are thwacking the ball everywhere, though with far less discipline. My former special boy Jorge Soler has cracked four homers, including a couple that should have probably counted double. Looks like we’re in the midst of a the few weeks per season when Soler is healthy and paying attention. Even Hunter Dozier is slugging near .500.
But that doesn’t mean the pitching staff can’t give away whatever the offense takes. Because they can and do. They’ve gotten decent work out of Brad Keller, who’s been able to dance his way around walking nearly five guys for every nine innings. That won’t last though. Fillmyer has only made one start but it wasn’t particularly pretty, as the unholy force that the Mariners are apparently tagged him for five runs in just three innings. Jorge Lopez has also benefitted from extreme luck on contact, and again, appears poised to go hurling over a cliff like Super Dave Osborne at any moment.
If the starters can get it to Jason Diekmann or Ian Kennedy, Royals fans can generally emerge from their bunker. When they can’t it’s time to stock up on canned food and bottled water. They’ve already tried 10 other goofuses, and it’s not going well. So you’re never out of it against the Royals.
Royals and then Tigers and Orioles. Only for the diehards, but also a fertile ground to harvest some wins.