MLB Arizona Diamondbacks

Chicago White Sox vs Kansas City Royals Series Prelude

After getting tossed around by the Tigers, the White Sox limp home to face the Kansas City Royals, who were tossed around by the Twins in the beginning of the week.

If there was one team that the White Sox need to face to right the ship and keep their dim hopes of making the playoffs, this is the team they need to face. The Royals are 18-33 since the All-Star break, winning only two series against the Orioles and the Indians over that time and splitting a 4 game series with the Yankees. They have been outscored 182-290 since the All-Star break and have been blown out more often than a major league team should be. Manager Ned Yost has said that he doesn’t play on surveying the talent he has from the minors and that he intends to try and win games this week.

With that being said, the White Sox should expect a lineup that looks something like this:

  • Gregor Blanco CF
  • Mike Aviles 2B
  • Josh Fields 3B
  • Wilson Betemit 1B/DH
  • Yuniesky Betancourt SS
  • Bryan Pena C
  • Lucas May C/DH
  • Alex Gordon LF
  • Jai Miller RF
  • Kila Ka’aihue 1B/DH
  • Billy Butler 1B
  • Mitch Maier CF/RF
  • Chris Getz 2B

Any of those players could be plugged in at certain positions so trying to determine a set lineup is pretty difficult at this point, especially since the Royals have used a different lineup in each of their last 5 games.

Offensively, the Royals are one of the teams at the bottom of the list. The team as a whole had a .251 average in August scoring 93 runs, hitting 40 doubles, 2 triples, and 22 home runs. They struck out more than 2 times for every one walk and stole 23 bases. Their offense so far in September has been essentially the same, hitting .252 scoring 24 runs. They have hit 14 doubles, a triple, and 5 home runs. They strikeout 1.5 times for every walk and have only stolen 1 base. This offense isn’t much to worry about except for Yuniesky Betancourt who has hit .250 against the White Sox this year with 2 doubles, 3 home runs, and 10 RBI. Against the White Sox this year, the Royals have hit .287 as a team with 20 doubles, 2 triples, and 13 home runs. They have scored 61 runs, strikeout more than 2 times for every walk, and have stolen 14 bases. Considering they have gone 7-8 against the White Sox this year, that’s pretty good for them.

Expect the White Sox to put out nearly the same lineup every game with a substitution here and there to give a guy some rest:

  • Juan Pierre LF
  • Alex Rios CF
  • Carlos Quentin RF
  • Paul Konerko 1B
  • Omar Vizquel 2B/3B
  • Alexei Ramirez SS
  • Gordon Beckham 2B (when he comes back from the hand injury)
  • Mark Teahen 3B
  • A.J. Pierzynski C

Bench:

  • Andruw Jones
  • Brent Morel (may be in starting lineup in place of Mark Teahen)
  • Dayan Viciedo
  • Brent Lillibridge
  • Ramon Castro

The White Sox offense has had it’s problems of late. They had no problem scoring runs in the beginning of their 10 game road trip, coming from behind in quite a few of those games, but over the final three they couldn’t score the runs they needed to come back and win the game. Juan Pierre has gone ice cold with only a .186 average over the past 10 games and with Alexei Ramirez hitting .200, Carlos Quentin hitting .222, and Mark Teahen hitting .182 over the same stretch, there is a good chance the White Sox offense could have trouble scoring runs against a poor Royals team.

The White Sox are hitting .295 against the Royals this season with 21 doubles, 3 triples, and 17 home runs. They have scored 78 runs and stolen 18 bases while being caught 14 times. There is a plus side to all this because a few White Sox players have had success against the Royals this year. Carlos Quentin is hitting .333 against them this year with a double, 5 home runs, and 10 RBI. Add in Andruw Jones hitting .265 with a double, 2 home runs, and 12 RBI, A.J. Pierzynski hitting .367 with 2 doubles, 3 home runs, and 9 RBI, and Alex Rios hitting .288 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, and 12 RBI and there is a good chance we will score some runs and have a shot at winning at least two of these games.

Pitching matchups:

Game 1: Mark Buehrle (12-10 3.99) vs Bruce Chen(9-7 4.89)

Mark Buehrle is coming off of 2 straight no decisions against the Indians and Red Sox. He’s given up 3 or more runs over 5 of his past 6 starts and is 2-2 over that stretch. He hasn’t been the ace of the staff that he is supposed to be but he isn’t pitching so badly that it’s costing the White Sox games. He is 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA this season against the Royals so he’s due for a good outing against them.

Bruce Chen is coming off of a no decision against the Tigers where he went 4.2 innings giving up 4 runs on 6 hits. He had a good August going 4-2 with a 4.64 ERA but it’s not extremely impressive since he got his wins against the Indians twice, the Mariners, and the Orioles. He is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA against the White Sox this year so we’ve roughed him up before and chances are we can do it again.

Game 2: Edwin Jackson (9-10 4.39) vs Kyle Davies (7-9 5.09)

Since joining the White Sox, Edwin Jackson has yet to lose a game. He is 3-0 with 3 no decisions. He’s coming off his worst outing with the White Sox where he went 7.1 innings against the Tigers allowing 4 runs on 9 hits. That’s not a horrible outing as the White Sox ended up winning that game, but it’s bad compared to his other outings. He hasn’t faced the Royals this year but is 3-3 over the past 3 years with a 5.03 ERA.

Kyle Davies is coming off of a win against Detroit going 6 innings giving up just a run on 3 hits. He had a 1-3 August though with a 4.46 ERA so he hasn’t pitched that good this year. Over his last 7 starts against the White Sox, he is 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA so as is the case with Chen, the White Sox have roughed up Davies in the past and can easily do it again.

Game 3: Freddy Garcia (11-6 4.88) vs Sean O’Sullivan (2-5 5.83)

Freddy Garcia is having issues with his lower back that has caused him to leave early from his last two starts. He may miss this start so there’s no guarantee this will be the pitching match-up. If he does make the start though, he is 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA against the Royals this year.  If he doesn’t make the start, I’d expect either Lucas Harrell or Carlos Torres to start in his place.

Sean O’Sullivan hasn’t had the best of luck since joining the Royals. The only win he has earned in his time with the Royals was a 1 inning outing against the White Sox. Aside from that, he is 0-4 and hasn’t given up less than 3 runs in an outing. The only other time he faced the White Sox was last year and he went 5 innings giving up 4 runs on 6 hits. It would be a safe bet to say that the White Sox can score at least 3 runs against him when they face him.

The bullpen for the White Sox has been the one aspect of the team that has been steady. Aside from the one blown save by Jenks at the beginning of the road trip, the bullpen has been spectacular.

The Royals bullpen has been a mess except for their closer Joakim Soria. Soria is 37 for 39 in saves and has a 1.71 ERA. It’s safe to say he is the one bright spot in a team full of disappointments this year and is the one thing the White Sox need to worry about if the Royals lead going into the 8th and 9th innings.

Prediction:

The White Sox should be able to take at least 2 of 3 games from the Royals. This could be the boost the White Sox need going into the 3 game series with the Twins that will ultimately decide the season, regardless of how many games are left in the season. I’m hoping that Juan Pierre can snap out of his funk and start hitting because the White Sox are going to need to be firing on all cylinders from here on out. The fielding needs to be much better and there can’t be any mistakes. Personally, I’m hoping for the sweep and for the Twins to lose 2 of 3 this weekend just to get us within 4 games. We need to be at 4 games or less so that if we play poorly against the Twins we can still have a chance to win the division during the home stretch.

We all just have to keep the faith and hope the Twins make some mistakes. I’ll have a recap of tomorrow’s game right after it ends.

And as always…….. GO WHITESOX!!!!!!!!!!!!

The White Sox on the other hand are having some offensive issues as of late.