White Sox-Royals: Because One Terrible Team Has to Win

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 4:26 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 25, 2018 4:26 PM UTC

Not exactly a marquee matchup from Kansas City on Thursday night (8:15 ET) as the Chicago White Sox are in town to open a rare five-game series.

Chicago White Sox at Kansas City RoyalsFree MLB Pick: RoyalsBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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The Chicago White Sox begin a seven-game swing through Missouri on Thursday when they open a five-game series – yes, five games – at AL Central rival Kansas City with an 8:15 p.m. ET first pitch. That’s assuming it’s not postponed. The Pale Hose have had four games called off already, including April 1 in Kansas City. Because of that, these teams will play a day/night doubleheader on Saturday.

What do these clubs have in common? Both are in full-blown rebuilding mode, although Chicago is way ahead in terms of a loaded farm system and with young talent already on the big-league roster. Right now, these are the two worst teams in the American League and probably only better than the NL’s Reds and Marlins.

Chicago took both games of the opening series, winning 14-7 on March 29 and 4-3 on March 31. That’s notable because it is the White Sox’s only series victory this season. Matt Davidson killed the Royals in that series with three homers and six RBIs. Tim Anderson went yard twice. Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada did once. The Royals hit just .224 in the series. Lucas Duda had a homer and five RBIs.

The White Sox are 5-1 in the past six meetings overall.

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Salvy's back and ready to crush. 💣 #RaisedRoyal pic.twitter.com/kxKrCq0fcQ

— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) April 25, 2018

Probable Pitchers: Giolito vs. Junis

It’s two young right-handers on the mound who have been having very different seasons thus far. Former top prospect Lucas Giolito (0-3, 9.00), acquired by Chicago from Washington the Adam Eaton trade before the 2017 season, threw a quality start on March 31 in Kansas City, surrendering three runs and four hits over six innings. He has not been good since in losing all three. Giolito was rocked for nine runs with seven walks over just two innings last time out against Houston. Free passes have been a major problem as the 23-year-old has issued 19 of them in 20 innings compared to just nine Ks. Control wasn’t a problem in 45.1 big-league innings last year with a 2.4 BB/9 rate.

Kansas City’s Duda is 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs off Giolito career. Mike Moustakas is 1-for-8 with a triple. Alcides Escobar is 2-for-9. Salvador Perez is 1-for-6 with a homer. Perez, the Royals’ All-Star catcher, was activated off the DL on Tuesday (MCL tear) and homered against the Brewers in his season debut (see above Tweet).

It’s 25-year-old Jakob Junis (3-1, 2.03) for the Royals, and he has been a rare bright spot in 2018. He showed some signs last year in 98.1 innings with a 9-3 record and 4.30 ERA. This season, Junis is among AL leaders in WHIP at 0.75. He has allowed just 15 hits and five walks over 26.2 innings. Junis has never faced the White Sox.

One hitter Junis won’t see is outfielder Avisail Garcia, who landed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday with a hamstring strain. Garcia pulled up lame trying to run out a grounder in the second inning Monday and had to be helped off the field. He was hitting .233 with a homer and four RBIs; Garcia had a huge fluke 2017 in finishing second in the AL with a .330 average. Instead of calling up top prospect Eloy Jimenez, as many fans were hoping for, the Sox recalled 26-year-old outfielder Daniel Palka from Triple-A Charlotte. Junis might also not have to worry about Abreu as he left Wednesday's loss to Seattle with flu-like symptoms.

  • White Sox are 1-6 in their last 7 games vs. a right-handed starter.
  • Royals are 4-1 in Junis' last 5 home starts.

Not many positive trends to find for either team here, but the Royals have won Junis’ past six vs. teams with a losing record. Chicago has lost six of its past seven series openers and may not have Abreu. That’s enough for me to lean Kansas City for a Thursday MLB pick.

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