Series Preview: Kansas City Royals @ Chicago White Sox
Another series against the Twins and another losing streak for the Royals continues. The Twins asserted their dominance once again against the Royals in their most recent series match up. The Royals will travel to Chicago for a weekend series against the White Sox. The White Sox will be coming home after a road trip of their own. This series is the beginning of a nine game home stand for the White Sox. All of these games feature central division teams and they are looking to desperately put some pressure on the Twins for a post-season berth. On the other hand, the Royals have a good opportunity to put some more nails in the White Sox’s coffin and keep them home in October.
Game 1: Bruce Chen (9-7) vs. Mark Buehrle (12-10)
Bruce Chen, the Royals leader in victories has yet to notch a victory against the White Sox. His last start against the White Sox was back in July. He lasted only 3.1 innings before being pulled. He gave up a walk, six hits (including a home run), and three earned runs. Bruce did enough not to take a decision in his last start. Bruce is facing the same hurler Chicago threw against him back in July.
Buehrle, the native Missourian, has been extremely tough on the Royals since making his debut with the White Sox. He is 21-11 in his career vs. the Royals. This includes his last start against them on July 9th. He went seven shut out innings, notching one of his twelve wins on the season. Several of the Royals have had reasonable success against him. This includes Billy Butler who in thirty-three at-bats has eleven hits including two home runs.
Game 2: Kyle Davies (7-9) Edwin Jackson (3-0)
Davies pitched one of his best outings all season long this past Sunday. He held the Tigers to one run through six innings of work. He is 2-2 in his career versus Chicago. However, this will be his first start against them this season. If he pitches as he did against Detroit, the numbers that players like Paul Konerko have put up against him, will not matter. Kornerko is a .533 lifetime hitter vs. Davies.
Jackson has pitched .500 ball in his career versus the boys in blue. His last start against the Royals was rained out after pitching just a handful of pitches back on August 20th. Jackson is very capable of going deep into ball games and has consistently done just that since making the move to the south side of Chicago.
Game 3: Sean O’ Sullivan (1-5) vs. Freddy García (11-6)
O’ Sullivan definitely desires his first win as a Royals pitcher. He will have to do it against a very solid veteran starter in Garcia. If he keeps his pitches down, he will stand a better chance than he did earlier this season, when he was struggling with his control.
Garcia, has struggled against the Royals in his career but does have some success under his belt. He is 9-13 with an ERA 5.89 in the last ten seasons against the Royals. This includes a no decision back on August 21st when he went 6.2 innings and gave up four earned runs. He struggled the entire month of August and has continued his struggles so far in September. He has only one win since August 5th and it was against the New York Yankees. He also has been struggling with a bad back. However, he is expected to be a game day decision on whether or not he will be the starter on Sunday.
Both teams’ offenses struggled in the most recent series. The Royals struggled against the Twins while Chicago faced Detroit. Chicago has more extra-base potential in their line up than the Royals. The Royals may have them beat out by three points in team batting average but the White Sox blow the Royals out of the water with a 34-point higher slugging percentage. The Royals pitching will have to keep the ball down in the zone in order to keep the ball in the ballpark.
The White Sox outrank the Royals in almost every major category in this department as well. They have turned more double plays, have a higher fielding percentage, and have committed eighteen less errors in the same amount of games played. What makes these numbers even worse is the fact that Chicago has ten more innings of fielding duty than the Royals.
Well the Royals got swept the last time they were in Chi-town. Part of it was the pitching staff. Chicago wants to build some momentum before hosting Minnesota and their Starters have all had success against Kansas City. Kansas City pitchers have had, at best, mixed results against the White Sox.
The Royals have the Thursday to do some more scouting and rest before facing off against Chicago. The White Sox will have to play, travel, and then play again. Therefore, fatigue may be a small factor in game one of the series. It will come down to who wants their desires more. Do the Royals want to shatter Chicago’s playoff hopes? Or, do the White Sox want to narrow that gap between them and Minnesota?