Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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MLB Preview: Chicago White Sox (12-23) at Kansas City Royals (9-26)


The Chicago White Sox have won two of their last three games and five of the last seven as they continue a seven-game trip tonight with the series opener at Kansas City.

RHP Dylan Cease, who is winless over his last four starts since 4/16, is scheduled to start tonight’s game for Chicago.

The White Sox opened this seven-game trip by winning two of three at Cincinnati, including scoring a season-high 17 runs in yesterday’s series-deciding victory.

Following this four-game series at Kauff man Stadium, Chicago returns home for a nine-game, 10-day homestand vs. Houston (5/12-14), Cleveland (5/16-18) and the Royals (5/19-21).

The Sox went 3-4 on their last homestand vs. Tampa Bay (1-3) and Minnesota (2-1) from 4/27-5/4 and 0-6 on their last trip at the Rays (0-3) and Toronto (0-3) from 4/21-26.

The White Sox are looking to win back-to-back road games for the first time this season.

The Sox have won five of the last seven games following a 10-game losing streak … four of the wins have come by three runs or less, including two by one run and two on walk-off hits.

Starters own a 4.28 ERA (26 ER/54.2 IP), .230 (48-209) opp. average and 61 strikeouts (10.0 per 9.0 IP) in the last nine games … they have allowed two earned runs or less four times.

The Sox are 27-121 (.223) with RISP over the last 15 contests.

Dylan Cease owns a 7.11 ERA (15 ER/19.0 IP), .321 (26-81) average, 12 walks and 19 strikeouts in his last four starts … he is looking for his first win since 4/10 at Minnesota.

Luis Robert Jr. is 10-19 (.526) with three doubles, two home runs, seven RBI, fi ve walks, three multihit eff orts and a 1.654 OPS during his six-game hitting streak.

The White Sox scored a season-high 11 runs in the second inning en route to a 17-4 win at Cincinnati, clinching consecutive series wins for the first time this season.

The Sox 17 runs marked a season high and 18 hits matched a season high … their 11 runs were the most in an inning since 9/17/07 at Kansas City (11 in the fifth), and the most runs the club has ever scored in the second inning.

Chicago’s second inning included 11 runs on eight hits, including nine with two outs … Hanser Alberto (two-run) and Gavin Sheets (three-run) homered and Andrew Vaughn recorded a two-run triple.

Michael Kopech earned his first win after allowing four runs, all on solo homers, in 6.0 IP … he became just the fifth White Sox starter to earn the win after surrendering four-plus homers.

Alberto went 4-4 with two doubles and a career-high four RBI, Luis Robert Jr. matched his career high with four hits, and Vaughn fell a home run shy of the cycle as part of a four-RBI eff ort.

Dylan Cease has gone 12-7 with a 2.14 ERA (41 ER/172.2 IP), .186 opp. average and 193 strikeouts (10.37 per 9.0 IP) over his last 30 starts dating back to 5/29/22.

Since the start of the 2022 season, Cease has allowed one or zero earned runs 26 times, the most in MLB (Julio Urías is second with 24) … he set a MLB record with 14 straight starts allowing one earned run or less from 5/29-8/11/22 (0.66 ERA; 6 ER/82.0 IP)

Chicago has won five of its last seven games after losing a season-high 10 straight games from 4/19-29.

The Sox won consecutive games from 4/30-5/2 and earned a series win from 5/2-4 vs. Minnesota, both firsts this season.

A breakdown of the White Sox over their last seven games since 4/30 and during their 10-game losing streak:

5-2 .293 49 7.0 11 .368 .477 .844 4.09 66.0 2 30 14 76
0-10 .174 25 2.5 8 .250 .297 .547 7.24 51.0 1 41 10 50

LHP Garrett Crochet (Tommy John surgery recovery), RHP Liam Hendriks (treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) and INF Yoán Moncada currently are on injury rehab assignments.

Hendriks (1 ER/2.0 IP) has made two appearances with Class AAA Charlotte … he announced on 4/20 he is cancer free.

Moncada is 5-9 (.556) with a homer and three RBI in three games with Charlotte … he has been on the injured list since 4/11 with lower back soreness.

Crochet has made three appearances (4 ER/3.1 IP) with Class AA Birmingham since beginning his assignment on 4/30 … he had never pitched in a minor-league game prior to this season.

The White Sox and Royals play 13 games this season, including seven times in May and six times in September.

Chicago went 9-10 vs. Kansas City last season, going 5-4 at Guaranteed Rate Field and 4-6 at Kauff man Stadium … the Sox lost four of the last six, and three straight on the road, in 2022.

The White Sox are 18-20 vs. the Royals since the start of the 2021 season after going 9-1 in 2020.

Chicago is hitting .300/.356/.437 with 16 home runs and 56 runs scored (4.3 R/G) over the last 13 games vs. the Royals.

Chicago is 3-3 vs. the American League Central this season, with all six games against Minnesota.

The White Sox went 37-39 vs. the AL Central in 2022 (18-19 at home; 19-20 on the road) after going 69-47 from 2020-21.

The White Sox recorded three straight winning seasons vs. the division from 2019-21, their longest streak since 1997-2009.

The Sox are 5-2 during their current stretch of 29 games in 30 days from 5/2-31 … their only off days in May are 5/1 and 5/15.

The 29-game stretch includes 15 games at home, 14 on the road and 20 vs. the American League Central.

The White Sox play seven consecutive series from 5/5-28 vs. teams at or below .500 (Cincinnati, Kansas City, Houston, Cleveland and Detroit).

Chicago pitchers lead MLB with 348 strikeouts, nine ahead of Minnesota (339) and 17 more than Atlanta (331).

White Sox starters rank second in the major leagues in strikeouts (203), trailing the Twins (220).

The White Sox are hitting .231 (27-117) with runners in scoring position over the last 14 games.

Andrew Vaughn is batting .423/.515/.923 (11-26) with 21 RBI with RISP this season … Andrew Benintendi is batting .429/.538/.524 (9-21) with eight RBI and fi ve walks with RISP.

The White Sox are batting .273/.339/.443 vs. left-handed pitching since the start of the 2019 season … during that span, the Sox lead MLB in average and on-base percentage, rank second in OPS (.782) and sixth in slugging percentage.

Tim Anderson owns a .349/.379/.555 (142-407) slash line vs. LHP since 2019, and Hanser Alberto is hitting .346/.366/.493 (172-497) … Anderson and Alberto rank 1-2 in MLB in average vs. left-handers since the start of 2019.

Luis Robert Jr. is a career .349/.413/.608 hitter vs. lefties.

Chicago is 6-13 (.316) on the road this season and 50-50 (.500) since the start of 2022 … the .500 winning percentage is tied for the sixth-best in the American League since 2022.

The White Sox rank third in the AL during that span with a 3.74 ERA (358 ER/862.0 IP).

Since the start of the 2020 season, the White Sox are 154-113 (.577) when All-Star SS Tim Anderson is in the starting lineup and 67-85 (.441) when he does not start.

During that span, the Sox are 126-74 when Anderson records a hit, 73-32 when he records a multi-hit effort, 96-46 when he scores a run and 27-3 when he homers.

The White Sox went 3-15 during Anderson’s 10-day injured list stint this season (4/11-5/1; sprained left knee).

Anderson ranks second in MLB since the start of 2019 with 52 three-hit games (Sox are 36-16), trailing Freddie Freeman (60).

Anderson needs three homers to become the fourth player in White Sox history to record 100 HR/100 SB, joining Hall-of-Famer Minnie Miñoso, Alexei Ramírez and Ray Durham.

Is scheduled to make his eighth start of the season, fourth on the road and first vs. the Kansas City Royals.

Has allowed one run or less while tossing 5.0-plus IP in 23 starts since 2022 … the 23 starts are tied for the most in baseball with the Dodgers’ Julio Urías (22) and ahead of the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani and Rangers’ Martín Pérez (20).

Is 0-1 with a 7.11 ERA (15 ER/19.0 IP) and .321 (26-81) opponents average in his last four starts.

The White Sox are 4-3 in his starts this season … has recorded two quality starts.

Is approaching the following career milestones: three games/starts for 100 and two wins for 40.

According to STATS, he is the fastest White Sox pitcher to reach 600 career strikeouts (495.1 IP).

Ranks third in MLB since 2021 in SO/9.0 IP (11.59) and strikeouts (496) and ninth in opp. average (.208).

Established career bests last season in ERA (2.20), strikeouts (227), wins (14), IP (184.0), WHIP (1.11) and opponents average (.190).

Was the 2022 AL Cy Young Award runner up and has been named American League Pitcher of the month twice in his career (June and July 2022).

Received a no decision on 5/3 vs. Minnesota, allowing four runs on five hits with four walks and six strikeouts over 5.0 IP … surrendered three runs in third inning and one in the fourth … allowed a solo home run to Nick Gordon in the fourth, his third straight start allowing a homer.

Departed the game in the sixth with the game tied, 4-4 … threw 98 pitches (56 strikes) … the White Sox would go on to win, 6-4.

Owned a 60.9 first-strike percentage and 14.3 swinging-strike percentage (14 swing and misses) vs. 23 batters … threw 51 four-seam fastballs (95.8 mph avg; 97.3 mph max), 30 sliders (86.0 avg; 88.5 max), 15 knuckle curveballs (79.7 avg; 81.8 max) and two changeups (73.1 avg; 74.9 max).

Is 8-3 with a 1.87 ERA (17 ER/81.2 IP) in his last 15 road starts, 11-4 with a 1.93 ERA (22 ER/102.1 IP) over his last 19 and 13-5 with a 2.28 ERA (33 ER/130.1 IP) in his last 24.

Ranks among MLB road leaders since 7/11/21 in ERA (3rd, 2.28), strikeouts (5th, 171), wins (T5th, 13) and opponents average (8th, .198).

Is limiting opponents to a .242 (8-33) average with RISP, .200 (4-20) mark with RISP/two outs and .167 (1-6) average with the bases loaded this season.

Owns a career .210 (88-419) opponents average with RISP, the fifth-lowest mark in the majors since 2019.

Was the 70th pitcher and 41st right-hander to start on Opening Day for the White Sox.

Became the first White Sox to start OD following a Top 2 Cy Young finish since Jack McDowell in 1994 … McDowell won the American League Cy Young in 1993.

Tied a franchise OD record with 10 strikeouts (also McDowell in 1991).

Joined Walter Johnson (1916), Mike Mussina (1998) and Jared Weaver (2012) as the only pitchers in MLB history to record 10-plus strikeouts and no walks on OD.

Is scheduled to make his 13th career start against the Royals and eighth at Kauffman Stadium … has allowed three earned runs or less in 11 of 12 career starts.

Has gone 2-2 with a 1.80 ERA (9 ER/45.0 IP), .193 (31-161) opponents average and 61 strikeouts over his last eight starts vs. Kansas City.

Went 1-1 with a 1.53 ERA (3 ER/17.2 IP) and .203 (13-64) opponents average over three starts against the Royals in 2022 … struck out 26, walked seven and allowed just one home run.

Is 7-2 with a 1.15 ERA (10 ER/78.1 IP), .189 (53-281) opponents average and 90 strikeouts over his last 13 starts against the American League Central.


SUNDAY SPLASH: The Royals salvaged the final game of their weekend series vs. Oakland with a 5-1 win yesterday at Kauffman Stadium…Salvador Perez put Kansas City on the board with a solo home run in the 1st inning on a 99.9 mph pitch from Mason Miller that he hit 462 ft., his longest home run tracked by Statcast (since 2015)…the A’s tied the game in the top of the 4th on a 2-out infield single, but the Royals answered with a run in the bottom half thanks to an RBI single by Maikel Garcia, who has hit in 6 straight games since his recall last Tuesday, and has an RBI in each of his last 5 games…the offense added 3 runs in the 8th for good measure, including a 2-run double by Nick Pratto to make a winner out of Ryan Yarbrough, who exited after being struck by a line drive in the 6th inning…Yarbs earned his 1st win as a Royal after allowing just 1 run on 3 hits in 5.2 innings.

Salvy’s HR was his 101st at Kauffman Stadium, breaking a tie with Mike Sweeney for 2nd most in the 51-season history of this ballpark, trailing George Brett, who hit 136 HR here during his 21-year career.

TRANSACTION ACTION: The Royals announced today that they have placed left-handed pitcher Ryan Yarbrough on the 15-day IL with head fractures, after he was struck by a comebacker in the 6th inning yesterday… in a corresponding move, right hander Jose Cuas was recalled from Triple-A Omaha…Cuas made the Opening Day roster and led the team with 14 appearances when he was optioned to Omaha last Wednesday…he made 1 appearance with the Storm Chasers, on Saturday vs. Louisville, and threw 24 pitches in 1.0 inning of work.

Left-handed pitcher Daniel Lynch pitched 3.1 scoreless innings yesterday in his 2nd rehab start and 1st with Omaha…Lynch was placed on the 15-day Injured List on March 30 with a left rotator cuff strain.

Outfielder Drew Waters will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha tomorrow…Waters was injured the first week of camp and was placed on the 10-day Injured List on May 30 with a strained left oblique…in 33 at-bats in extending Spring Training, Waters slashed .485/.575/.879 with 9 extra-base hits.

TRADE ALERT: The Royals announced today that they have acquired right-handed pitcher James McArthur from Philadelphia for minor league outfielder Junior Marin and cash considerations…McArthur, 26, was designated for assignment by the Phillies last Thursday, and will be optioned to Triple-A Omaha…he made 5 appearances (4 starts) with Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, after being limited to 13 starts in 2022 due to injury…the 6-foot-7 McArthur was selected in the 12th round of the 2018 Draft out of the University of Mississippi.

The 19-year-old Marin signed with the Royals as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2021.

To make room on the 40-man roster for McArthur, Franmil Reyes was designated for assignment…Reyes hit .186 (11-for-59) in 19 games with the Royals before being optioned to Triple-A Omaha last Tuesday.

DINGER PARTY: The Royals have homered in a season-high 6 consecutive games to begin the month of May, after homering in 14 of 29 games in March/April (20 HR total)…their 12 HR through 6 games this month lead the American League and rank tied for 2nd in the Majors to the Braves, who have hit 17 HR in 8 games since the calendar flipped to May…of the Royals last 11 home runs, 5 have come with a man on base, after their previous 8 homers were solo shots, which was their longest run of solos within the same season since 2019.

Royals catchers have hit 9 home runs this season, the most of any position on the team and the highest total at the catcher position in the Majors, matching the Braves, whose catchers also have 9 home runs.

Salvador Perez leads the Royals with 7 home runs, including 6 as a catcher…MJ Melendez has homered once as a catcher and Freddy Fermin has homered in his last 2 games, the 1st and 2nd of his career.

Bobby Witt Jr. has homered twice on this homestand and trails only Salvy for the team lead with 6 home runs this season, which is tied for 2nd most among all shortstops, trailing only Bo Bichette (7).

GETTING OFFENSIVE: The Royals offense has flipped a switch over the last two-plus weeks, a 15-game stretch in which the Royals rank among the Major League leaders in several offensive categories…since April 22, the Royals lead the Majors with 6 triples, rank tied for 3rd with 58 extra-base hits, 4th with 34 doubles, 6th with a .272 batting average and .343 on-base percentage and 7th with a .464 slugging percentage and .807 OPS…they’ve scored 77 runs in those 15 games—10th best in the Majors—for an average of 5.1 runs per game.

The Royals have matched or out-hit their opponent in 9 of the last 15 games, but that hasn’t translated to wins, as their 5-10 mark during that stretch is better only than the A’s (4-11), Mets (3-11) and Cardinals (3-12).

In 6 games since the calendar flipped to May, the Royals lead the Majors in slugging percentage (.567) and OPS (.946), rank tied for 2nd in HR (12), 3rd in extra-base hits (29), tied for 3rd in batting average (.298) and 4th in runs per game (6.7)…but despite the uptick in offense, the Royals are just 2-4 in May.

Bobby Witt Jr. has a hit in all 5 of his games on this homestand, during which he has 4 XBH and 5 RBI.

Vinnie Pasquantino walked again yesterday to give him more walks (19) than strikeouts (17) for the season…in fact, he’s one of seven players since last season to record more walks than strikeouts (min. 400 PA), along with Juan Soto, Alex Bregman, Yandy Díaz, Alejandro Kirk, Steven Kwan and Luis Arraez.

Salvador Perez leads the Royals with 7 home runs and 19 RBI this season, and after hitting .220 through 21 games, he’s batting .429 (18-for-42) over his last 11 games with 6 multi-hit efforts, 5 HR and 12 RBI, a stretch in which his batting average, .810 slugging percentage and 1.299 OPS all rank 2nd in the Majors.

Maikel Garcia has hit in all 6 games since his recall last Tuesday, and is batting .348 (8-for-23) with 5 RBI.

Michael Massey started 6-for-52 but is batting .308 (12-for-39) with a .417 on-base percentage in his last 12 games, and has reached safely in 9 of his last 12 plate appearances since the 5th inning Thursday.

VS. WHITE SOX: The Royals and White Sox are meeting tonight for the 1st of 13 games between these division rivals this season, and for the 1st of 7 games over the next 14 days, including a 3-game set in Chicago on the next road trip from May 19-21…the Royals have won nine of the last 12 season series vs. the White Sox, including a 10-9 record vs. them last season, which marked their most wins vs. any opponent in 2022.

This series also marks a homecoming of sorts for White Sox Manager Pedro Grifol, who spent 10 seasons with the Royals from 2013-22, including three years as the Bench Coach from 2020-22…the White Sox have another familiar face in their dugout in outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who was traded to Kansas City prior to the 2021 season and hit .320 (111-for-347) in 93 games with the Royals last year, before he was traded to the Yankees ahead of last year’s Trade Deadline…he’s a career .292 hitter at Kauffman Stadium.


ZACK GREINKE is making his 8th start of the season and 522nd of his career tonight vs. the White Sox, breaking a tie with Andy Pettitte and Hall of Famer Jim Palmer for 38th place on the all-time starts list…it’s his 32nd career appearance (29th start) vs. the White Sox and 4th since the start of last season…Greinke, now in his 20th season in the Majors, is a six-time All-Star, a six-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner and was named the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2009 with the Royals.

He is one of three pitchers in Major League history with at least six Rawlings Gold Gloves and six All-Star selections, along with Greg Maddux and Bob Gibson.

Among active pitchers, Greinke ranks 1st in starts (521) and innings (3283.0), 2nd in wins (224) and 3rd in strikeouts (2,909)…he is one of three pitchers in Major League history to win a Cy Young Award, a Rawlings Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award, along with Fernando Valenzuela and Orel Hershiser.

LAST START: Greinke earned his 1st win of the season in a 6-0 victory last Wednesday night vs. Baltimore, in which he allowed just 3 hits over 5.0 scoreless innings…it was his 1st scoreless start since last Sept. 27 at Detroit (7.0 IP) and it was his 1st win since last Aug. 11 vs. the White Sox, snapping a run of 13 winless starts in which he went 0-6 despite a 3.89 ERA (30 ER 69.1 IP)…Zack completed 5.0 innings last Wednesday on just 44 pitches, becoming the first pitcher to do so since Greg Maddux needed just 43 pitches to complete 5.0 scoreless innings on Sept. 21, 2003 vs. the Marlins.

Thanks to Zack’s pitch efficiency, last Wednesday night’s game was completed in 1 hour, 59 minutes, the 4th-fastest 9-inning game in the majors this season and the 4th-fastest 9-inning game at Kauffman Stadium since 1985.

WALKING ON WATER: Zack’s pinpoint control has been on full display this season, his 20th in the Majors…the 39-year-old has issued only 6 walks to the 152 batters he’s faced through 7 starts for a 3.9% walk rate and 1.5 BB/9, which rank 3rd and tied for 4th, respectively, among qualified pitchers in the American League this year.

BACK IN BLUE: Zack returned in 2023 for the second straight year to Kansas City, where he spent the first seven seasons of his Major League career, after being selected by the Royals 6th overall in the 2002 Draft…Greinke is the 33rd player to play for the Royals, leave the organization and later return…he missed time due to two stints on the Injured List in 2022, limiting him to only 137.0 innings, the 4th fewest in his career behind the shortened 2020 season (67.0 IP), 2006 (6.1 IP) and 2007 (122.0 IP)…he did, however, rank 2nd among Royals starters with a 3.68 ERA (56 ER in 137.0 IP).

Tonight marks Zack’s 203rd start with the Royals, which ranks 8th in club history, trailing Paul Splittorff (392), Mark Gubicza (327), Dennis Leonard (302), Kevin Appier (275), Bret Saberhagen (226), Larry Gura (219) and Danny Duffy (204)…his 1,029 strikeouts with the Royals rank 7th, 19 shy of Duffy.

GRE1NKE: After surpassing 500 career starts and 50,000 pitches thrown last season, Greinke is on the verge of many more milestones this year…among them is a rare feat, courtesy of Baseball Reference’s Kenny Jackelen…Greinke has struck out 997 different batters in his 20-year career and is three new strikeout victims shy of joining Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens as the only pitchers in Major League history to fan 1,000 different batters…there are five active White Sox who Greinke has yet to strike out, including Andrew Benintendi, Billy Hamilton, Adam Haseley, Carlos Pérez, Seby Zavala.

VS. WHITE SOX: In 31 career appearances (28 starts) vs. the White Sox, Zack is 10- 10 with a 3.81 ERA (80 ER in 189.0 IP) with the 2nd-most innings vs. them among active pitchers, trailing only Justin Verlander’s 316.2 innings…Greinke hasn’t lost to the White Sox since Aug. 19, 2009 in Chicago—14 years ago—and in 9 starts vs. them since, he’s 5-0 with a 3.06 ERA (22 ER in 64.2 IP), including 3 starts with the Royals last season, in which he went 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA (5 ER in 18.0 IP).

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