Friday, June 2, 2023
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MLB Preview: Kansas City Royals (14-33) at Chicago White Sox (18-29)


SOUTH SIDE SLIDE: The Royals suffered a 5-1 loss in Chicago yesterday to mark their 2nd straight defeat while falling to 2-6 on this road trip, pending today’s finale…Salvador Perez gave Kansas City a brief lead with a solo HR in the 1st inning to mark his 1st of 3 hits in the game, as he fell a triple shy of hitting for the cycle…Chicago responded in the bottom half with 3 straight 2-out hits off Jordan Lyles, including a 2-run single by Yoán Moncada…Lyles went on to retire 13 of 15 until the 6th, when the Sox loaded the bases on 2 walks and a catcher interference to begin the frame…that ended Lyles’ day in favor of Jose Cuas, who yielded a bases-clearing double by Jake Burger to give the Sox more than enough cushion…the Royals stranded the bases loaded in the 4th inning and got nothing out of a two-on, no outs start to the 7th, as they went 0-for-8 in scoring situations.

LEADS LOST: The Royals have held a lead in 14 of their 18 games in the month of May, but they’re only 7-11 during that stretch with 7 blown lead losses…this includes yesterday, when they led 1-0 in the 1st inning but failed to score again in a 5-1 defeat…the only games this month in which they haven’t held a lead were May 5 vs. Baltimore, when they trailed 9-2, cut the deficit to 9-8, but lost 12-8; May 12 at Milwaukee, a 5-1 loss; last Monday night in San Diego, a 4-0 loss; and Friday night here in Chicago, where they were blanked in a 2-0 loss.

Kansas City’s 15 blown lead losses are tied with the Cardinals and Reds for the 4th most in the Majors this season, trailing only the Athletics (17), White Sox (16) and Mariners (16).

SALVY SPLASHES: Salvador Perez had 3 hits yesterday and fell a triple shy of hitting for the cycle…his solo HR off Lucas Giolito in the 1st inning was his team-high 10th of the year, marking his 11th season with at least 10 homers, which matches Amos Otis for the 2nd most in Royals history, trailing only George Brett’s 15…in the 12 seasons since 2012 (including this one), Salvy’s 11 seasons with at least 10 home runs are tied for 2nd most in the Majors, trailing only Anthony Rizzo, who has hit at least 10 home runs in each of the last 12 seasons…Salvy’s only exception during this stretch was the 2019 campaign, which he missed due to Tommy John Surgery.

Salvy is tied for the Major League lead with 7 HR in May…after batting .220 (18-for-82) through his 1st 21 games, Perez has been one of the best hitters in baseball in his last 21 games, a stretch in which he ranks 1st in the Majors with a .716 slugging percentage and ranks 3rd in batting average (.358) and OPS (1.116).

Royals catchers have hit 12 home runs this season, the most of any position on the team and the highest total at the catcher position in the Majors, 2 more than the Athletics and Braves (10 each)… Salvy leads the Royals with 10 home runs, including 8 as a catcher…MJ Melendez has homered once as a catcher and Freddy Fermin has 3 home runs in 10 games (7 starts) as a catcher since his May 2 recall.

STARTING SOMETHING: With five starting pitchers on the IL, the Royals have been forced to get creative with how they use their pitchers…today is another example of that, as they turn to Carlos Hernández to serve as the opener…this will mark the fourth time the Royals have used an opener this season, all in the last 29 games since April 21…the first instance was to cover the spot vacated by Kris Bubic, who underwent Tommy John Surgery… the three most recent times (including today) have been to cover the spot of Ryan Yarbrough, who eventually took Bubic’s place in the rotation, but exited his start on May 7 vs. Oakland after taking a line drive to the head.

In the 3 previous games in which the Royals deployed this method, the opener and bulk pitcher have combined for a 2.81 ERA (5 ER in 16.0 IP) and 15 strikeouts…the Royals went 1-2 in those games, including losses on April 21 in Anaheim and May 12 in Milwaukee and a 4-3 win last Wednesday in San Diego… that game was started by Hernández, who recorded 4 strikeouts over 2.0 scoreless innings…it was his 8th scoreless appearance in his last 10, a stretch in which he’s pitched to a 1.32 ERA (2 ER in 13.2 IP), .167 opponents’ average (8-for-48), 20 strikeouts (13.2 K/9) and 4 walks (2.6 BB/9) and no HR allowed.

WHAT A RELIEF!: The bullpen continued its dominant stretch yesterday with 3.0 scoreless innings and extended its scoreless streak to 8.1 innings dating back to the 7th inning on Wednesday in San Diego…over the last 15 days, Royals relievers have pitched to a 2.47 ERA (15 ER in 54.2 IP) and .204 opponents’ average (39-for-191), both of which rank 1st in the AL…they also lead the Majors during this stretch with 69 strikeouts and a 30.9 K%.

For the season, Royals relievers lead MLB with 214 strikeouts and tied for 1st with 10.9 K/9, both of which mark big improvements over last year, when they ranked 25th with 552 strikeouts and 21st with an 8.5 K/9.

Josh Staumont turned back the clock yesterday with a dominant 9th inning, in which he needed only 12 pitches to retire Luis Robert Jr., Yoán Moncada and Andrew Vaughn, including 2 strikeouts…since being recalled to make his season debut on April 14, 11 of Staumont’s 14 outings have been scoreless and he’s held opponents to a .184 average (9-for-49) with just 1 extra-base hit and 19 strikeouts (12.2 K/9).

Taylor Clarke pitched a scoreless 8th inning on Wednesday to run his scoreless streak to 7.1 innings over 6 appearances, during which he’s held opponents to a .200 average (5-for-25) with 11 strikeouts.

Scott Barlow has retired 20 of his last 21 batters, and the only exception during that stretch was a single by Oakland’s JJ Bleday on May 7…he’s recorded 10.2 scoreless innings over his last 10 outings since April 22, a stretch in which he has 5 saves, a .111 opponents’ average (4-for-36) and 16 strikeouts…his save on Wednesday was the 49th in his career, tying him with Wade Davis and Steve Farr for 9th in Royals history.

SERIES SPEAKING: Yesterday’s loss clinched a Royals series defeat, dropping them to 2-2 in their last four sets, after beginning the season 1-10 through their first 11 series…they’re hoping to win today to avoid what would be their fifth series sweep of the season, following May 30-April 2 vs. Minnesota, April 14-16 vs. Atlanta, April 17-19 vs. Texas and May 12-14 at Milwaukee…they have not been swept in 3 games by the White Sox since May 7-9, 2021 at Kauffman Stadium, and they haven’t been swept on the South Side since May 27-29, 2019.

Today wraps a stretch of 7 games in 14 days between these two teams…they’ve split 6 games to this point, but the Royals have outscored the Sox 28-20 (+8), despite losing the 1st 2 games of this series.

These two teams won’t see each other again until September, when they are scheduled to play 6 games in a span of 9 days, including 3 games in Kansas City from Sept. 5-7 and 3 here in Chicago from Sept. 11-13.

AFTERNOON DELIGHT: Today’s 1:10 p.m. CT start will mark the Royals 22nd day game of the season, which trails only the White Sox, Tigers and Twins in the American League…the Royals are scheduled for 64 day games this year, which would match 2021 for their 2nd most in a single season, trailing only the 2022 Royals (69).

ON DECK: The Royals will fly home tonight to begin a 6-game homestand tomorrow night vs. the Detroit
Tigers…following an off day on Thursday, they’ll host the Washington Nationals next weekend for the first
time since 2016…that will begin a run of four consecutive series vs. National League opponents, including
a 2-game trip to St. Louis to end the month of May, a 3-game stay vs. the Rockies and 3 games in Miami.

Hernández is making his 2nd appearance as the opener today vs. the White Sox, after he worked 2.0 scoreless innings on Wednesday as the opener for Mike Mayers, striking out 4 Padres in San Diego.

Carlos pitched to an 8.64 ERA (8 ER in 8.1 IP) over his 1st 9 appearances this year, but he owns a 1.32 ERA (2 ER in 13.2 IP) with 20 strikeouts in 10 outings since, dating back to April 24 in Arizona.

Took his 1st loss of the year on May 13 in Milwaukee, after allowing 2 hits and a walk-off sac. fly.

Carlos helped Team Venezuela reach the quarterfinals of the 2023 World Baseball Classic, where they fell to Team USA 9-7…he made a pair of appearances in the tournament, once on March 14 against Nicaragua, when he threw 2.0 scoreless frames with 4 strikeouts, and in the quarterfinal game vs. the United States on March 18, when he got 2 outs, including a strikeout of Team USA Captain Mike Trout.


The Chicago White Sox have won four of their last five games, five of seven and 11 of 19 as they conclude a nine-game, 10-day homestand this afternoon with the series finale vs. Kansas City.

RHP Lance Lynn, who is looking to win consecutive starts for the first time this season, is scheduled to start for Chicago.

The White Sox are 5-3 on the homestand after winning the first two games vs. the Royals … the Sox won two of three over Cleveland after losing two of three to Houston last weekend.

Following today’s finale vs. the Royals, the Sox will take a seven-game trip to the Guardians (5/22-24) and Detroit (5/25-28).

The Sox went 3-4 on their last trip at Cincinnati (2-1) and Kansas City (1-3) from 5/5-11 and 3-4 on their last homestand vs. Tampa Bay (1-3) and Minnesota (2-1) from 4/27-5/4.

The White Sox are looking to record their first sweep of the season, and first over the Royals since 5/7-9/21 in Chicago.

White Sox starters own a 2.57 ERA (16 ER/56.0 IP), .201 (40- 199) opp. average and 47 strikeouts over the last nine games.

The Sox have won four straight games and six of the last seven over Kansas City at Guaranteed Rate Field dating back to 2022.

Lance Lynn is 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA (2 ER/22.0 IP), .167 (13-78) opp. average, 0.59 WHIP and 27 strikeouts over his last three starts (three QS) vs. Kansas City at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Jake Burger is hitting .355/.397/.887 (22-62) with four doubles, nine home runs, 21 RBI and a 1.284 OPS at home in 2023 … 17 of his 19 career homers have come at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Luis Robert Jr. has hit safely in 15 of 18 games in May, going 23-64 (.359) with seven doubles, seven home runs, 15 RBI, five walks, seven multi-hit eff orts and a 1.227 OPS.

The White Sox today selected the contract of OF Clint Frazier from Class AAA Charlotte and DFA OF Jake Marisnick.

Frazier is hitting .375 (21-56) with five doubles, seven home runs, 13 RBI, 13 runs scored and a 1.317 OPS in 16 games with Charlotte after signing as a minor-league free agent on 4/28.

Frazier, who will wear uniform No. 15, opened the season in the Texas organization and appeared in 15 games with Class AAA Round Rock before his release on 4/24.

The White Sox scored two runs in the first and three in the sixth and held the Royals scoreless over the final eight innings en route to a 5-1 win, clinching a series victory.

Following Salvador Perez’s solo homer in the first, Yoán Moncada answered with a two RBI single in the bottom half.

The Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth and Jake Burger cleared the bases with a one out, three-run double.

Lucas Giolito earned the win (1 ER/6.0 IP) to even his record at 3-3 … four relievers combined to work 3.0 scoreless IP.

Burger recorded Chicago’s only multi-hit eff ort, and Moncada (1-3, BB) and Andrew Benintendi (1-3, BB) reached base twice.

White Sox starters own a 2.57 ERA (16 ER/56.0 IP), .201 (40-199) opp. average and 47 strikeouts over the last nine games since 5/11 … they rank second in MLB in ERA and third in opponents average and WHIP (1.00).

They have allowed three runs or less eight times, two or less six times and one or less four times.

A breakdown of the Sox rotation in the last since 5/11:

5-4 2.57 1.00 7 56.0 40 18 16 4 16 47 7.6 .201 .585

The White Sox are 6-1 over their last seven games vs. Kansas City at Guaranteed Rate Field since 8/2/22 … the Sox have outscored the Royals by a 38-16 margin during that span.

Chicago is hitting .301/.360/.467 with 10 home runs and scored seven-plus runs three times over the seven contests.

White Sox pitchers own a 2.29 ERA (16 ER/63.0 IP) with 74 strikeouts and a .199 (46-231) average since 8/2/22.

The White Sox have won two consecutive games to even the season series at 3-3 … following today’s game, the clubs do not play again until September.

Chicago is hitting .207/.267/.303 with three home runs, owns a 4.91 ERA (28 ER/51.1 IP) with four quality starts and has been outscored by a 28-20 margin this season.

The White Sox are 21-23 vs. the Royals since the start of the 2021 season (outscored 170-166), including a 10-10 home mark.

Chicago went 9-10 vs. Kansas City last season, going 5-4 at Guaranteed Rate Field and 4-6 at Kauffman Stadium.

Chicago is 8-7 vs. the American League Central, including a 6-2 mark at Guaranteed Rate Field … it currently is in a stretch of 13 straight games vs. the division (4-1 record). 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 Sox currently are in a stretch of 16 straight games without a day off and are 11-8 during the current stretch of 29 games in 30 days from 5/2-31 (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 six of seven series from 5/5-28 vs. teams below .500 (at Cincinnati, at/vs. Kansas City, vs./at Cleveland and at Detroit).

The White Sox (Burger, Robert Jr.) are one of six MLB teams with multiple players to hit 10-plus home runs this season, joining Atlanta (four), the Angels (three),Tampa Bay (three), the Dodgers (two) and the Yankees (two).

The White Sox have homered in 14 of its last 19 games since 4/30 (24 total homers), and hit 27 in its last 22 games since 4/27.

The Sox have recorded nine multi-homer eff orts and been held without a home run just six times over the last 22 contests.

Chicago is 14-17 when homering, 7-7 when hitting multiple homers and 4-12 when going homerless this season.

Luis Robert Jr. (4th, 12) and Jake Burger (T8th, 10) rank among the American League home run leaders this season.

Robert Jr. is tied for third in MLB with nine 400-plus foot homers in 2023, trailing Pete Alonso (11) and Ronald Acuña Jr. (10) … he is averaging 407 ft. and 107.2 mph on his 12 homers, including max values of 430 ft. on 5/9 at K.C., and 113.6 mph on 5/14 vs. Houston.

Robert Jr. has recorded 400-plus foot distances on 34 of his 48 career home runs … he leads the Sox since the start of 2020 with homer averages of 412 feet and 107.6 mph exit velocity (min. 10 home runs).

Burger leads MLB with 8.90 at bats per home run this season (minimum 90 plate appearances) … he is averaging 405 feet on his 19 career home runs, and 13 have traveled an estimated 400-plus feet.

Luis Robert Jr. is hitting .359/.431/.797 (23-64) with seven doubles, seven homers (averaging 421 ft. and 109.2 mph EV), 15 RBI, 19 runs, five walks and a 1.227 OPS in May (18 G).

He ranks among AL May leaders in runs scored (1st), total bases (1st, 51), extra-base hits (1st, 14), home runs (T1st), slugging percentage (2nd), OPS (2nd), , doubles (T2nd), on-base percentage (3rd), average (4th), hits (T4th) and RBI (T5th).

The last White Sox to win American League Player of the Month honors was 1B José Abreu in August 2021.

Chicago is 31-86 (.361) in the last 12 games vs. LHP.

The White Sox are batting .273/.340/.443 vs. left-handed pitching since the start of the 2019 season … during that span, the Sox lead MLB in average, rank second in on-base percentage, tied for fourth in OPS (.781) and sixth in slugging pct.

Tim Anderson (.349) and Hanser Alberto (.345) rank 1-2 in MLB in average vs. left-handers since the start of 2019.

Luis Robert Jr. is 11-28 (.393) with three homers and seven RBI vs. LHP in 2023 and hitting .355/.417/.617/1.033 lifetime.

Chicago won two of three over Cleveland earlier this week in the first series of the season between the clubs.

The White Sox are hitting .330/.354/.560 with six homers, own a 2.00 ERA (6 ER/27.0 IP) and a 16-8 edge in runs scored.

The White Sox went 7-12 last season, going 3-6 at Guaranteed Rate Field and 4-6 at Progressive Field.

Chicago is 19-22 since the start of 2021, including a 9-10 mark at Progressive Field (13 games decided by three runs or less).

Is scheduled to make his 10th start of the season, fifth at home and second against the Kansas City Royals.

Has allowed 12 runs in the first inning in 2023 … surrendered 13 runs (11 earned) in the first in 21 starts in 2022.

Has surrendered 11 home runs this season … has allowed a homer in seven of his nine starts, including in four of the last five.

Ranks among MLB active pitchers in HR/9.0 IP (6th, 0.93), SO/9.0 IP (7th, 9.10), opponents average (9th, .242), wins (9th, 125), starts (9th, 294), opponents SLG (10th, .384), IP (10th, 1,756.2), strikeouts (11th, 1,776), opponents OPS (11th, .695), ERA (12th, 3.61), WHIP (12th, 1.27) and opponents OBP (12th, .312).

Signed a two-year contract extension with a club option with the White Sox on 7/17/21 … the Sox hold an $18-million option for 2024 with a $1-million buyout.

Is a two-time All-Star (2012 and 2021) … has finished fifth in the AL Cy Young Award voting in 2019, sixth in 2020 and third in 2021 … was a member of the 2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Earned his second win of the season on 5/16 vs. Cleveland, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts over a season-high 7.0 IP … held the Guardians scoreless over the first five innings before allowing a sacrifice fly to Steven Kwan in the sixth.

Left the game in the eighth with the White Sox leading, 7-2, no outs and a runner on second … threw 97 pitches (69 strikes).

Owned a 78.6 first-strike percentage and 8.2 swinging-strike percentage (11 swing and misses) vs. 28 batters … threw 47 four-seam fastballs (92.9 mph avg; 94.4 mph max), 27 cutters (87.7 avg; 90.9 max), 14 sinkers (91.4 avg; 94.0 max), five changeups (84.9 avg; 85.9 max), four curveballs (82.1 avg; 82.6 max).

Recorded his 24th career double-digit strikeout performance and fifth with the Sox on 4/29 vs. Tampa Bay.

Ranks 12th in the majors with 696 strikeouts since 2019 … teammate Lucas Giolito (763) ranks sixth.

Has struck out at least five batters in 85 of his 104 starts since 2019, the 10th-highest total in the majors.

Is 12-9 with a 3.62 ERA (69 ER/171.1 IP), .222 (145- 652) opponents average, one complete game, one shutout and 198 strikeouts in 30 home starts since 2021 … made one start in Dyersville, Iowa at the “Field of Dreams” Game on 8/12/21 vs. New York-AL.

Has gone 12-9 with a 3.52 ERA (65 ER/166.1 IP) in 29 starts at Guaranteed Rate Field since 2021.

Ranks among American League home leaders (min. 170.0 IP) since 2021 in opponents OBP (4th, .272), opponents average (6th), strikeouts (10th) and ERA (14th).

Owns a career .229/.284/.352 (809-3,536) opponents slash line against right-handed hitters.

His .229 opponents average vs. right-handers is the eighth-lowest mark among active pitchers in the majors.

Ranks ninth in MLB with 1,756.2 IP since 2011 … is one of 13 active pitchers in MLB with 1,700.0-plus career IP.

Has thrown 100-plus pitches 67 times since 2019, tied with the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole for the most in the majors during that span.

Has thrown 30,005 pitches since 2011, seventh-most during that span, and the most among MLB pitchers with less than 1,900.0 IP during that span.

Pitched for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic … went 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA (3 ER/9.0 IP), .188 (6-32) opp. average and eight strikeouts in two starts.

Started on 3/13 against Canada in pool play, earning the win after allowing one run over 5.0 IP.

Was the starting pitcher for USA’s quarterfinal contest vs. Venezuela … received a no decision after allowing two runs in 4.0 IP … USA would go on to win, 9-7.

Is scheduled to make his 16th career start against the Royals, eighth at home and fourth at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Has gone 8-3 with a 3.19 ERA (26 ER/73.1 IP), .225 (62-276) opponents average and 74 strikeouts in his last 12 starts against the Royals.

Is 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA (2 ER/22.0 IP) in his three career starts vs. Kansas City at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Has gone 1-1 with a 5.50 ERA (11 ER/18.0 IP) in three starts against the American League Central this season.

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