Thursday, July 18, 2024
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MLB Preview: Chicago White Sox (53-85) at Kansas City Royals (43-96)

CHICAGO WHITE SOX NOTES:

WHITE SOX AT A GLANCE
The Chicago White Sox have lost four straight games, 16 of their last 22 and 28 of 40 as they continue a six-game, seven-day trip tonight at Kansas City. RHP Dylan Cease is scheduled to start for the White Sox, who are a season-high 32 games under .500. The Sox opened the trip yesterday with 12-1 loss to the Royals, marking the sixth time in the last 17 games they have allowed 10-plus runs. Following tomorrow’s game and a day off Thursday, the White Sox conclude the trip this weekend with three games at Detroit (9/8-10) before returning home for three games vs. the Royals (9/11-13) and four vs. Minnesota (9/14-17). The Sox went 0-3 on their last homestand vs. Detroit from 9/1-3 and 1-2 on their last trip to Baltimore from 8/28-30.

TONIGHT’S STORYLINES
The White Sox are 6-14 at Kauff man Stadium since 7/28/21 and have been outscored, 107-61 during that stretch. Sox starting pitchers own a 8.33 ERA (71 ER/76.2 IP) over the last 17 games. Dylan Cease is 4-4 with a 3.28 ERA (26 ER/71.1 IP) and 84 strikeouts in 13 career starts against Kansas City. Elvis Andrus is hitting .364/.395/.571 (28-77) with seven doubles, three homers and 17 RBI over his last 21 games. Andrew Benintendi needs one double for 200 career. Yoán Moncada has reached base safely in 14 straight games and is hitting .338/.376/.513 (27-80) with eight doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI over his last 23. Luis Robert Jr., who is not in the starting lineup for the fourth straight game (right quad tightness), is hitting .474 (9-19) with four multihit eff orts over his last five.

TODAY’S TRANSACTIONS
The White Sox have claimed RHP Yohan Ramírez off waivers from Pittsburgh … Ramirez, 28, went 1-0 with a 3.67 ERA (14 ER/34.1 IP), three holds and 31 strikeouts in 26 relief appearances over three stints with the Pirates this season before being DFA on 9/1.

LET THE KIDS PLAY
The White Sox currently have 10 rookies on the active roster: RHPs Declan Cronin, Edgar Navarro, Lane Ramsey, Gregory Santos and Jesse Scholtens, LHP Sammy Peralta, C Korey Lee, INFs Zach Remillard and Lenyn Sosa and OF Oscar Colás. Per STATS, the 10 rookies are tied with Kansas City and Oakland for second-most in MLB behind Pittsburgh (12).

WHITE SOX VS. KANSAS CITY
he season series is even at 4-4 … Kansas City has won four of the five games at Kauff man Stadium by a combined 39-14 margin, and the White Sox swept a three-game series at home from 5/19-21 by a 12-3 margin. The Sox are hitting .206/.257/.304 (51-247) with a 5.53 ERA (42 ER/68.1 IP) and have been outscored, 42-26. The White Sox 22-24 against the Royals since 2021 after going 9-1 in 2020.

CENTRAL COMMAND
The White Sox are 19-21 against the American League Central this season, including a 12-7 at home and 7-14 on the road. The White Sox posted a losing record (37-39) against the division in 2022 after combining to go 69-47 in 2020-21.

STARTING PITCHER- #84 DYLAN CEASE RHP
CEASE AT A GLANCE
Is scheduled to make his 29th start of the season, 15th on the road and second against the Kansas City Royals. Ranks among American League leaders this season in
starts (T1st, 28), SO/9.0 IP (2nd, 10.68), strikeouts (5th, 176) and HR/9.0 IP (5th, 0.91). Is 2-4 with a 7.79 ERA (30 ER/34.2 IP), .310 (44-142) opponents average, 24 walks and 38 strikeouts over his last seven starts … tossed 6.0-plus IP in two of those starts. Has allowed one run or less while tossing 5.0-plus IP in 30 starts since 2022 … the 30 starts are the most in baseball ahead of the Padres’ Blake Snell, Dodgers’ Julio Urias and Astros’ Justin Verlander (27). According to Elias, he is the fastest White Sox pitcher to reach 700 career strikeouts (583.0 IP). Is tied for second in MLB since 2021 in starts (92) and ranks fifth in SO/9.0 IP (11.37) and strikeouts (629). 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).

LAST START
Earned the win on 8/30 at Baltimore, allowing five runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts over 6.0 IP … allowed four runs in the first inning and one from the second-sixth … surrendered a solo home run to Anthony Santander in the third. Departed the game in the seventh with the White Sox leading, 10-5 … threw 109 pitches (65 strikes). Owned a 69.2 first-strike percentage and 16.5 swinging-strike percentage (19 swing and misses) vs. 26 batters … threw 53 four-seam fastballs (96.0 mph avg; 97.8 mph max), 36 sliders (86.7 avg; 88.2 max), 14 knuckle curveballs (82.0 avg; 83.3 max) and six changeups (73.3 avg; 76.7 max).

HE GONE!
Needs 24 strikeouts to join Chris Sale (2013-16) and Ed Walsh (1910-12) as the only White Sox pitchers to record three straight 200-plus strikeout seasons … is on pace for 207 strikeouts in 2023. Has recorded 393 swing and misses this season, the seventh-most in the majors … recorded a season-high 24 swing and misses on 6/20 vs. Texas.

LIGHTS OUT IN THE SUN
Is 12-6 with a 2.49 ERA (47 ER/170.0 IP), .198 (123- 621) opponents average and 203 strikeouts (10.75 per 9.0 IP) over 30 day starts since the start of last season. His 2.49 ERA in day games since 2022 is the ninth-lowest among MLB pitchers (min. 10 day starts).

NO FLY ZONE
Is averaging 0.84 home runs allowed per 9.0 IP (31 HR/332.1 IP) since 2022, the eighth-lowest mark in the American League. Has allowed multiple homers in just four games since last season (zero in 2023) … 10 of his 15 home runs allowed this season have come with the bases empty.

OVER WORKED
Has thrown 2,746 pitches in 28 starts this season, the fifth-most in the majors … his 98.1 pitches per game are the fifth-most in baseball. Is averaging 18.5 pitches per IP and 4.14 pitches per batter faced, are the highest and third-highest marks in MLB respectively.

VS. KANSAS CITY ROYALS || A.L. CENTRAL
Is scheduled to make his 14th career start against the Royals and ninth at Kauffman Stadium … has allowed three earned runs or less in 11 of 13 career starts. Has gone 2-3 with a 2.88 ERA (16 ER/50.0 IP), .219 (40-183) opponents average and 67 strikeouts over his last nine starts vs. Kansas City. Suffered the loss in his last start on 5/8 at Kauffman Stadium, allowing seven runs on nine hits with one walk and six strikeouts over 5.0 IP. Is 2-3 with a 5.03 ERA (27 ER/48.1 IP), .242 (45-186) opponents average and 52 strikeouts over nine starts against the American League Central in 2023.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS NOTES:

LABOR DAY DOMINANCE: The Royals opened this series with a convincing 12-1 win over the White Sox yesterday, matching their season high for margin of victory, done previously last Friday in a 13-2 win vs. the Red Sox…they scored in each of the first 5.0 innings yesterday for the first time in eight years, since Sept. 2, 2015 vs. Detroit, scoring 1 run in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, then 2 in the 4th before erupting with a 7-run 5th to put the game out of reach…five different Royals had multi-hit efforts, including 3-hit days by Maikel Garcia and Edward Olivares, who went deep twice, including a 2-run homer in the 5th…Royals pitchers allowed 1 unearned run and no walks over 9.0 innings, including another gem by the reigning American League Pitcher of the Month, Cole Ragans, who allowed a bloop single and a hit-by-pitch over 6.0 scoreless innings, with 7 strikeouts, extending his scoreless streak to a career-best 21.0 innings, which is the longest active run in the Majors. The Royals have won 9 of their last 13 series-opening games, after losing 22 of their 1st 27 series openers.

SERIES SPEAKING: After winning yesterday’s series opener vs. the White Sox, the Royals are in position to take the series with a win tonight or tomorrow night…doing so would clinch their first series victory since July 28-Aug. 3, when they swept the Twins and Mets in back-to-back series, and would snap a streak of nine winless sets since, during which they’ve lost eight and split one…the Royals have won the series-opening game in five of the nine series during this streak, but have failed to win any of the remaining games in the series. A win tonight would mark back-to-back victories for the Royals for the first time since their season-high 7-game win streak from July 28-Aug. 4, and would snap a 6-21 skid over 27 games in between…the Royals are a Majors-worst 12-30 following a win this season, and have lost 7 straight games following a win. This 9-game, 10-day stay marks the third-to-last homestand of the year, including a 6-game stretch from Sept. 15-20 vs. Houston and Cleveland and a 3-game set vs. the Yankees to end the regular season from Sept. 29-Oct. 1…including tonight, there are only 11 home games remaining on the Royals 2023 schedule.

CHANGE OF SOX: After losing 2 of 3 games vs. the Red Sox over the weekend, the Royals continue this 9-game, 10-day homestand tonight with the 2nd of 3 games vs. the White Sox…these two teams met seven times over a 14-day stretch in May, when the Royals lost 4 of 7 games despite outscoring the White Sox 30-25 (+5)… after going 90 games since their last meeting, tonight continues a stretch in which these teams are playing 6 games over 10 days, including a 3-game series that will start next Monday night on the South Side of Chicago. The Royals have won 15 of their last 22 home games vs. the White Sox since July 2021, a stretch in which they’ve outscored the Sox 114-69 (+45) while averaging 5.2 runs per game and allowing 3.1 runs per game.

REHABBING ROYALS: Nick Pratto went 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI as the designated hitter on Sunday in his 4th rehab game of his current assignment with Triple-A Omaha…his first assignment began on Aug. 17, but he was returned a week later…Pratto was placed on the 10-day Injured List on July 28 with a groin strain. Brad Keller earned the win with 2.0 scoreless innings last night with Double-A Northwest Arkansas…it was his 8th appearance—6th at Double-A—on his current rehab assignment as he works his way back from a right shoulder impingement that has sidelined him since mid May…he hasn’t allowed a run in 4 of his last 5 appearances (7.2 IP), including 4.0 scoreless frames in his last 2 outings.

30/30 VISION: Bobby Witt Jr. hit his 28th homer of the season Friday night, which ranks tied for 6th in the American League behind Shohei Ohtani (44), Luis Robert Jr. (35), Adolis García (34), Aaron Judge (31) and Rafael Devers (29)…he also ranks 4th in the Majors with 39 stolen bases, behind Ronald Acuña Jr. (63), Esteury Ruiz (56) and Corbin Carroll (41)…Witt Jr. is now only 2 home runs shy of becoming the first player in Royals history to record 30 homers and 30 steals in a season, and he would be only the sixth player in Major League history with a 30/30 campaign in his age-23 season (or younger)…the five that have done this include Bobby Bonds in 1969, José Canseco in 1988, Álex Rodríguez in 1998, Mike Trout in 2012 and Acuña Jr. in 2019.

SALVY SPLASHES: Salvador Perez went 0-for-3 with a sac. fly yesterday and remains at 1,392 hits for his career, which are 6 shy of matching Royals Hall of Famer Mike Sweeney (1,398) for the 7th most in franchise history… he went 5-for-14 with 5 RBI in the 3-game series last weekend vs. Boston, including 2 HR in Friday’s 13- win to mark his 16th career multi-HR game, matching Sweeney for the 2nd most in Royals history, 1 behind George Brett (17)…Salvy’s 1st HR on Friday night was his 20th of the year, marking his seventh season with at least 20 HR, breaking a tie with Sweeney for 2nd most in franchise history, one behind Brett, who had eight 20-HR seasons. Salvy has 795 career RBI, and is 5 shy of becoming the sixth player to have 800 RBI with the Royals. Perez, who is the Royals starting catcher tonight, is 16.0 innings caught shy of 10,000.0 for his career.

THE RUNNING ROYALS: The Royals went 0-for-1 on stolen base attempts yesterday, but still lead the Majors with 58 steals in 48 games since the All-Star break, which are 7 more than the Cubs (51) and 14 more than the Guardians and Mariners (44 each) for the American League lead…the Royals also lead the American League and rank 2nd in the Majors with 94 steals in 83 games since June 1…for the season, Kansas City’s 134 steals rank 4th in the Majors, trailing only Cincinnati (160), Tampa Bay (147) and Arizona (135). Nine different Royals players have at least 5 stolen bases this year, which trails only the Reds, who have 11 players with at least 5 steals…Kansas City’s leading base stealer is Bobby Witt Jr., who ranks 4th in the Majors with 39 steals behind Ronald Acuña Jr. (63), Esteury Ruiz (56) and Corbin Carroll (41). Bobby’s 69 career steals are the most by any player through two big league seasons since Billy Hamilton had 69 steals from 2013-14…with his next steal, Witt Jr. will become the first Major League player to record 70 stolen bases in his first two seasons since Ichiro Suzuki had 87 in his first two seasons from 2001-02.

I BELIEVE I CAN FLY: The Royals lead the American League and rank 2nd in the Majors this season with 45 sacrifice flies, trailing only the Dodgers (56)…the Royals have not led the American League in sacrifice flies since 2000, when their total of 70 sac. flies marked the 4th most in a single season in franchise history. Despite not making his season debut until May 2, Maikel Garcia’s 10 sac. flies are tied with Cody Bellinger for the Majors lead, and are tied with Carlos Beltrán (10 in 1999) for the club rookie record…he’s 3 shy of the club’s single-season record of 13, set by Darrell Porter in 1979 and matched by Dean Palmer in 1998 and Mike Sweeney in 2000…his 10 sac. flies are the most by a Royal since Whit Merrifield had 12 in 2021.

TONIGHT’S STARTERS: RHP BRADY SINGER (8-10, 5.15)

BRADY SINGER is making his team-high 27th start of the season and 90th of his career tonight vs. Chicago…it’s his 10th career start vs. the White Sox and 2nd this year…he’s in his fourth season in the Majors and was selected by Kansas City in the 1st round (18th overall) of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of the Univ. of Florida. Among players drafted in the 1st round in 2018, Singer’s 6.4 bWAR ranks 4th, trailing Nico Hoerner (11.1), Shane McClanahan (8.5) and Logan Gilbert (6.8).

SWEET CHILD O’ MINE: Brady is making his 1st start tonight in 11 days, since Aug. 25 in Seattle, where he suffered a 7-5 loss after allowing 4 runs on 9 hits and 1 walk in 4.0 innings…now at 143.1 innings for the season, Singer is already just 10.0 innings shy of his career high of 153.1 set last year…the Royals decided to skip his turn in the rotation last week, and he missed 3 games on the Paternity List to be with his wife, Tori, as she gave birth to their first child, Beau, last Friday…Brady will hope to channel his newfound dad energy tonight as he seeks to halt a 2-start losing streak.

I’M STILL STANDING: Following a breakout season in 2022, Brady has struggled through ups and downs this year, as he’s been charged with at least 4 earned runs in 12 of his 26 starts, something that happened in only 5 of his 24 starts last season… the Royals, predictably, are 2-10 in games that he allows at least 4 earned runs…but on the flip side, he’s held opponents to 3 earned runs or fewer in his other 14 starts, in which the Royals are 10-4…after going 2-4 with an 8.82 ERA (33 ER in 33.2 IP) and 7 home runs allowed in his 1st 7 starts of the season, Singer is 6-6 with a 4.02 ERA (49 ER in 109.2 IP) with only 9 homers allowed (0.7 HR/9) in his last 19 starts.

CHANGE OF TUNE: Brady has thrown 66 changeups in 8 starts since the All-Star break, which have accounted for 8.5% of his pitch count during that time…he’s 3-2 with a 3.88 ERA (21 ER in 48.2 IP) over those 8 starts, and his changeup has helped keep left-handed batters off balance, as he’s held them to a .184 average (21-for-114), although 9 of those 21 hits have come in his last 2 starts…in 18 starts before the All-Star break, Singer threw 88 changeups, which accounted for 5.4% of his pitch count…he went 5-8 with a 5.80 ERA (61 ER in 94.2 IP) during that time, and left handers hit him to the tune of a .292 average (64-for-219) and .862 OPS. In addition to increasing his changeup usage, Singer recently added a 4-seam fastball to his arsenal…according to Brooks Baseball, he’s thrown 60 of them in his last 5 starts, accounting for 12.5% of his pitches…in those 5 starts, Singer is 2-2 with a 3.94 ERA (13 ER in 29.2 IP) and .243 opponents’ average (28-for-115).

SONG OF THE SOUTH(PAWS): Opponents have stacked their lineups with lefthanded batters vs. Singer, who has been mostly a two-pitch pitcher, as his sinker and slider account for 90.7% of his pitches this season…of the 627 batters Singer has faced, 374 of them (59.6%) have been left handers, which is the highest rate in the Majors (min. 600 BF)…as noted above, his increased changeup usage in 8 starts since the break has helped him hold left handers to a .184 average (21-for114) and .593 OPS…fifty-eight pitchers have faced at least 100 left handers since the break, and only three of them held them to a lower average than Singer’s mark of .184: Corbin Burnes (.137), Gerrit Cole (.152) and Bobby Miller (.170).

WALK THIS WAY: Brady has pitched at least 5.0 innings without issuing a walk in 15 of his 50 starts since last season, which trails only George Kirby (18) and Logan
Gilbert (16) for the most such starts in the American League during that time…but on the flip side, Singer has issued multiple walks in 15 of his 26 starts this season, which are 7 more than his total of multi-walk starts from all of last season, when he made 24 starts…he’s walked 44 in 143.1 innings this year for a 2.8 BB/9, already 9 more than his walk total in 153.1 innings last season (35), when he had a career-best 2.1 BB/9.

CALL ME MAYBE: In 50 starts since his recall on May 17 of last year, Brady has induced a called strike on 923 of 4,773 pitches (19.3%), 3rd most in the Majors behind Logan Webb (1,015) and Aaron Nola (947), and just ahead of Gerrit Cole (919) and Corbin Burnes (912)…since his 2020 debut season, Singer’s called-strike rate of 20.2% ranks 2nd in the Majors (min. 5,000 pitches), trailing only Adam Wainwright (20.9%).

CAN’T TOUCH THIS: Singer has recorded 467 strikeouts in 489.1 innings since his 2020 debut for an 8.6 K/9, which is the best rate in Royals history among pitchers
who’ve started at least 70 games, ahead of Ian Kennedy (8.4), Jakob Junis (8.1) and Danny Duffy (8.1)…his 467 strikeouts are the most by a Royal through 92 career appearance, ahead of Royals Hall of Famer Steve Busby (464)…to maintain the lead through 93 outings, Singer needs 3 strikeouts to pass Busby, who had 469 st
strikeouts.

YOUR SOCKS DON’T MATCH: In 10 career appearances (9 starts) vs. the White Sox, Brady is 3-2 with a 3.16 ERA (20 ER in 57.0 IP), and the Royals are 7-3 in those
outings…he’s completed at least 7.0 innings in 3 of his last 6 starts vs. the Sox, and has held them to 1 run or fewer in 4 of his last 6 starts, a stretch in which he’s 3-1. In 5 starts at Kauffman Stadium vs. the White Sox, Singer is 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA (7 ER in 33.0 IP) and has held them to 1 run or fewer in each of the last 4 starts.

TAKE ME HOME: Singer is 5-4 with a 3.98 ERA (38 ER in 86.0 IP) in 15 starts at Kauffman Stadium this season…his ERA is almost 3 runs lower at home than it
is on the road, where he’s 3-6 with a 6.91 ERA (44 ER in 57.1 IP)…Brady has held opponents to 2 runs or fewer in 10 of his 15 home starts, including 8 of the last 9, a stretch in which he’s 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA (13 ER in 57.1 IP). The Royals have won each of Singer’s last 5 home starts since the beginning of July, during which they’ve scored 32 runs in his 35.1 innings.

Mikey Balhan Sports

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