On the eve of the MLB trade deadline, Thursday will feature a game of AL Central division rivals as the Chicago White Sox (60-42) take on the Kansas City Royals (44-56). The Royals will host this one at Kauffman Stadium, with first pitch scheduled for 2:10 pm ET.
This is the last of a four-game set between the two teams. After splitting the first two games of the series, the Royals won in extra innings on Wednesday.
In the victory, Kris Bubic pitched well as he allowed just two runs in six innings. The star of the game, though, was Royals’ catcher Salvador Perez, who hit a ninth-inning home run off of Liam Hendricks, his 24th of the season. Michael Taylor walked it off in the tenth for the 3-2 win.
In the loss, Lucas Giolito went six innings of one-run ball and struck out seven. The offense was held to just five hits, with Andrew Vaughn accounting for two of the five.
The White Sox are the favorites in this one despite playing on the road. They are -180 to win while the Royals’ moneyline sits at +152. The runline features Kansas City +1.5 (-102), and the over/under for total runs is 10.
The White Sox will send southpaw Carlos Rodon to the mound in the finale. On the season, he is 8-4 with a 2.24 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and has struck out 145 in 100.2 innings.
The Royals will counter with righty Carlos Hernandez (1-1, 6.04 ERA). In his last start, a 9-8 win over the Detroit Tigers, Hernandez lasted just 2.2 innings and gave up 5 runs on a couple of hits and four walks.
By The Number
Offensively, the White Sox have been one of the best teams in baseball. They currently rank fifth in scoring averaging 4.97 runs per game. The Royals rank 22nd, averaging 4.19 runs.
In terms of pitching, it is once again Chicago with the advantage. Their staff earned run average is 3.60, which ranks seventh in the majors. The Royals rank 28th with a staff ERA of 5.02.
White Sox Hope To Bounce Back
It is never easy to lose a game, but it is a whole lot tougher when you had the lead in the ninth inning. After the emotional gut-punch of Wednesday night’s game, the White Sox will look to bounce back to earn a series split.
Leading the way for the White Sox on offense is Jose Abreu. On the season, he is hitting .246/.330/.458 with a team-leading 18 home runs and 75 runs batted in.
The White Sox are also thrilled to have slugger Eloy Jimenez in the lineup. In his first three games of the season, he was two for eleven, but one of the two hits was a home run.
Royals Look To Positives In Otherwise Rough Season
At 43-56, it has been a pretty rough season for the Royals. They are currently 15 games back in the division and are virtually out of it when it comes to a postseason spot.
Despite the struggles, the Royals are looking for the positives, and a series win over the division-leading White Sox would be a good start. With a winning record at home (27-25 vs. 17-31 on the road), anything could happen on Thursday.
Leading the way offensively for the Royals is Wednesday’s hero, Salvador Perez. On the season, he is hitting .278/.307/.508 with 24 home runs, 63 runs batted in, and 47 runs scored. He has also had some success against Rodon in his career. In 17 at-bats against the lefty, Perez is hitting .353 with a home run. Whit Merrifield (.409 batting average in 22 at-bats) and Carlos Santana (.348 in 23 at-bats and a home run) have also had success against Rodon.
Take The White Sox To Win
This one is pretty straightforward. The White Sox have the better pitcher on the mound, the better offense in the box, and the better team all the way around.
Yes, they have shown vulnerabilities as of late, but they are still first in their division for a reason. Expect Carlos Rodon to come in and shut the door on the Royals in this one.
Take the White Sox to win.