Royal Rumble: White Sox Look to Rebound in Kansas City

This week the Chicago White Sox (22-15) found themselves in sole possession of first place in the AL Central. They did not stay long as they struggled to compete against the Minnesota Twins (22-16).

After dropping the last two games and the series to the Twins, the Sox find themselves in second place and a half-game back. As good as they were all August, there were a few questions with this team and how they would compete against strong teams. The Twins series proved that.

For more from the recent White Sox-Twins series, read Patrick Flowers’ recent piece, White Sox Face Tough Decisions Crucial to their Postseason Hopes’.

Royal Rumble

Chicago heads to Kansas City to continue their second of three away stops; they will finish it off with a two-game series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Their schedule for the rest of the month includes 23 games in which 10 are at home and 13 are away.

Royals attempted to flip the switch last week and challenge the Sox a bit more than in their previous series together. But the White Sox fought back harder. This season, the White Sox have given the Royals too much to handle a majority of the time. They are 5-1 and have outscored the Royals 40-25.

Mound Matchups

  • Thursday, 7:05 CT: RHP Dylan Cease (4-2, 3.00) vs. LHP Danny Duffy (2-2, 4.11)
    • This will be Cease’s second straight start against the Royals and he is coming off a strong showing in August.
    • This season, Cease is 1-0 in 2 games with a 2.61 ERA (3 ER/10.1 IP) and just 9 strikeouts.
    • Alex Gordon is 3 for 6 with two RBI against Cease. In each of Cease’s starts vs. Royals, Gordon has hit a home run in his first at-bat of the game.
    • Duffy went 5.2 IP his last time out against the White Sox. He allowed seven hits, three earned runs, and two home runs. He did have six strikeouts.
    • White Sox batters hit a respectable .278 against Duffy for their careers.
      • Abreu is 19 for 59 vs. Duffy with 5 extra-base hits and 5 RBI.
      • Yolmer Sánchez is hitting .333 in 36 career at-bats against Duffy
  • Friday, 7:05 CT: RHP Dane Dunning (0-0, 2.89) vs. RHP Brady Singer (1-3, 5.19)
    • Last time out (8/30), Dunning pitched five no-hit innings with just one walk allowed and seven strikeouts against the Royals.
    • Opponents are hitting .152 against Dunning. He also has 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings ratio.
    • Singer went five innings on August 29 against the White Sox. He gave up three earned runs which included a home run.
      • Anderson was 2 for 3 with a double and Edwin Encarnación was 1 for 2 with a home run and 2 RBI.
    • Singer has yet to give up less than two runs in a start so far in his career.
  • Saturday, 6:05 CT: RHP Lucas Giolito (3-2, 3.14) vs. LHP Kris Bubic (0-4, 5.46)
    • Coming off his no-hitter, Giolito battled through five innings against the Twins. He gave up four runs (two earned), walked just one, and struck out eight Twins batters.
    • His last three outings he has 33 strikeouts to just three walks for an impressive 11.3 K/BB ratio.
    • Royals Batters have hit .181 in 138 at-bats against Giolito and have 50 strikeouts.
    • This will be just Bubic’s ninth career start but already his third vs. Chicago.
    • Much like Singer, Bubic has yet to have any appearances with one or zero runs allowed.
      • His last appearance on August 30 vs. CWS might have been his best. He went 5.1 innings, allowed two runs, and struck out eight.
        • Adam Engel was 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBI that game.
  • Sunday, 1:05 CT: LHP Dallas Keuchel (5-2, 2.42) vs. RHP Brad Keller (3-1, 1.93)
    • Last time out, Keuchel managed to make it through five innings despite dealing with a stomach issue. Keuchel and the team are hoping he can give them a couple more innings this time around.
    • In 10 starts against Kansas City, Keuchel is 5-1 with a 2.67 ERA.
      • White Merrifield- 6 for 15 with a double, RBI, a walk, and a strikeout vs. Keuchel.
      • Alex Gordon is 5 for 21 with a double, a home run, two RBI,
    • Moncada has struggled recently but could see a bounce-back day against Keller. He’s hitting .280 vs. Keller with a home run, RBI, and five walks. He does have eight strikeouts too.

Who’s Hot

  • Jose Abreu– 4/12, 2B, 2 RBI, R, 2 K, HBP in MIN series.
    • Abreu has a 16-game hitting streak and is batting .400 with a .451 on-base percentage, 14 extra-base hits, and 21 RBI during that stretch.
  • Nick Madrigal– 4/11, R, K in MIN series.
    • After starting season 0 for 8, he is 14 for his last 28 at-bats with four runs, three RBI, a walk, and only two strikeouts.
  • Steve Cishek– 1 G, 1 IP, 0 R/ER, 3 K in MIN series.

Who’s Not

  • Jimmy Cordero– 2 G, 2 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, BB, 3 K, HR, BS, 18.00 ERA in MIN series
  • Reynaldo López- 1 G, 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R/1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, HR, L, 7.50 ERA in MIN series.
  • Edwin Encarnación- 1/11, RBI, R, 2 BB, 3 K in MIN series.
  • Eloy Jiménez- 1/12, 2B, 2 RBI, 6 K in MIN series.

Final Thought

Obviously with the playoffs set up a bit different this season, it is almost guaranteed that the Chicago White Sox will make the playoff. This will be the first time since 2008 that has happened.

The team cannot let that get into their heads and let games slip from them for struggling to locating their pitches, squaring a ball up, or even sloppy fieldwork. All of which happened in the Twins series. They must take each game as an opportunity to work at their craft and learn from each moment. These mistakes have cost them a few wins already, they do not want to allow it to cost them come October.

White Sox have a chance to get better this weekend and wrap up the season series vs. Kansas City.

Featured Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

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