Series Preview: Sox Host Irritable Royals This Weekend

The White Sox continue their homestand and their stretch against the AL Central with a four game series against the Royals. The Sox are coming off a good series win against the Indians after taking the rubber match on Wednesday. The Royals got off to a hot start against the Sox and have continued that to this point. They sit tied atop the Central with the Tigers at 11-4.

Sox vs. Royals: By the Numbers

White Sox record versus Royals:

2015: 0-3

2014: 6-13

Royals at US Cellular Field:

2015: 1st meeting

2014: 8-2

Starting Pitchers: White Sox

Chris Sale (2-0, 2.25 ERA)

Last Start: (W) 6 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K’s

Versus Royals

Career: 24 games (13 starts), 7-8, 2.68 ERA, 1.221 WHIP, 8.0 K/9, 4.38 K/BB

 

Jose Quintana (1-1, 8.40 ERA)

Last Start: (L) 4 IP, 10 hits, 9 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Versus Royals

Career: 13 starts, 0-6, 4.66 ERA, 1.361 WHIP, 6.6 K/9, 2.90 K/BB

2015: 1 start (ND), 5 IP, 9 hits, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K’s

 

John Danks (0-2, 6.06 ERA)

Last Start: (ND) 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB’s, 4 K’s

Versus Royals:

Career: 7-1, 2.63 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 5.8 K/9, 2.22 K/BB

2015: 1 start (L), 5.2 IP, 7 hits, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

 

Hector Noesi (0-2, 5.23 ERA)

Last Start: (L), 5.2 IP, 4 hits, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K’s

Versus Royals

Career: 3 games (2 starts), 0-2, 3.55 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 7.1 K/9, 2.50 K/BB

 

Starting Pitchers: Royals

Yordano Ventura (2-1, 4.80 ERA)

Last Start: (L) 3.1 IP, 4 hits, 5 ER, 2 BB’s, 2 K’s (ejected for throwing at Lawrie)

Versus White Sox

Career: 5 starts, 2-2, 4.67 ERA, 1.222 WHIP, 6.7 K/9, 4.00 K/BB

2015: 1 start (W), 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K’s

At US Cellular Field: 2 starts, 0-1, 9.00 ERA, 2.000 WHIP, 9.0 K/9, 4.00 K/BB

 

Danny Duffy (1-0, 5.51 ERA)

Last Start: (ND) 5 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 5 BB’s 5 K’s

Versus White Sox

Career: 5 starts, 2-1, 4.57 ERA, 1.292 WHIP, 8.7 K/9, 4.20 K/BB

2015: 1 start (ND), 5 IP, 8 hits, 5 ER, 0 BB, 5 K’s

At US Cellular Field: 3 starts, 1-1, 3.72 ERA, 1.345 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, 3.33 K/BB

 

Edinson Volquez (2-1, 1.99 ERA)

Last Start: (W) 7 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K’s

Versus White Sox

Career: 2 starts, 1-1, 4.26 ERA, 1.026 WHIP, 5.7 K/9, 2.67 K/BB

2015: 1 start (W), 8 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K’s

At US Cellular Field: 1st start

 

Jason Vargas (1-1, 6.75 ERA)

Last Start: (ND) 5.2 IP, 8 hits, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K’s

Versus White Sox

Career: 8 games (7 starts), 1-2, 7.14 ERA, 1.562 WHIP, 6.0 K/9, 2.08 K/BB

At US Cellular Field: 4 starts, 0-0, 6.45 ERA, 1.433 WHIP, 4.8 K/9, 2.00 K/BB

 

Team Notes: Royals

-Depleted Pen: The strength of the Royals last year was their bullpen, which helped lead them all the way to the World Series. The seventh-eighth-ninth inning combo of Herrera, Davis and Holland was the toughest in baseball and this year they started out just like they finished last year. But the Sox are catching them at the right time. Greg Holland is on the disabled list with a pectoral strain and Kelvin Herrera is serving a suspension for his role in the beanball war that took place last weekend with the A’s.

Royals closer Greg Holland is on the DL

Royals closer Greg Holland is on the DL

With Holland out, Wade Davis has been elevated to closer and has already picked up three saves. The rest of the pen has been spectacular as well posting a 4-0 record with a 0.58 ERA, a 0.712 WHIP, 7.8 strikeouts per nine and has 40 strikeouts to just eight walks. So despite them losing two of their big three relievers, they have still been pretty darn good.

-Wound Up Royals: The Royals have been involved in three different beanball wars already this year, including in the opening series against the White Sox. For whatever reason the scrappy Royals are playing with more than just a little chip on their shoulder. The scrape with the A’s last weekend saw six members of the Royals ejected while not a single Oakland player was tossed, plus the Herrera suspension. Who knows whether the back and forth beanballs from the series in Kansas City will carry over but with Ventura and Sale on the mound in the first game we should find out pretty quickly.

-Hot Bats: Several members of the Royals are off to very good starts. Salvador Perez (.345, 3 HR’s, 12 RBI), Eric Hosmer (.315, HR, 9 RBI), Alcides Escobar (.327), Mike Moustakas (.305, 3 HR), Lorenzo Cain (.377, 2 HR’s, 12 RBI) and Kendrys Morales (.328, 2 HR’s, 9 RBI) are all hitting over .300 and despite being 11th in the AL with 13 homers, that is way more than they had at this point last year.

Another surprise is speedster Paulo Orlando, who has five triples already, on just eight hits. He has as many triples by himself as any other team in the American League.

 

Team Notes: White Sox

-Abreu Heating Up: The reigning Rookie of the Year has started to get it going for the White Sox. Over the last five games Abreu is hitting .429 (9-for-21) with two doubles, a triple, three home runs and 10 RBI. The Sox offense has been struggling in the early part of the season but Abreu is the key to the Sox offense so as long as he is hitting, the Sox have a chance.

Abreu is doing his thing.

Abreu is doing his thing.

-Rodon’s Debut: The Sox top prospect made his Major League debut on Tuesday night pitching out of the bullpen. However, it was not the debut that Rodon or the Sox had hoped for. Rodon tossed 2.1 innings, gave up two runs on three hits and walked three batters while striking out one. Rodon was clearly amped up for his debut as he struggled to control his fastball and appeared to be overthrowing. Rodon threw 60 total pitches but just 29 for strikes. With the debut out of the way, hopefully he can settle down and pitch the way he did in Spring Training and in Charlotte.

-Top of the Order to You: After getting off to a rough start this year, the top of the White Sox order seems to be coming around. Adam Eaton was 5-for-12 (.417) with two walks in the Cleveland series and Melky Cabrera is 11-for-21 (.524) in his last five games, including the game winning hit in the Sox ninth inning comeback on Monday night. With those two getting on base in front of Abreu and LaRoche, the Sox offense should start to score runs on a more consistent basis.

matthoeppner

About matthoeppner

White Sox fan for as long as I can remember. Graduate of the Michigan State School of Journalism, Pitch F/X Operator for MLB.com, play-by-play announcer for the Michigan Regional Sports Network and new dad. I live in the Detroit area but am still a Chicagoan all the way.

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