White Sox look to end five-game skid vs. Royals
Chicago (56-87) has struggled against most of the American League this season, but it has fared much better against Kansas City. The White Sox are 10-6 against the Royals this season with a dominant run differential of 94-69.
This marks the final series of the season between the teams, who occupy the last two spots in the AL Central.
Kansas City (47-95) trails only the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in baseball. Barring a late surprise, the Royals will have the No. 2 overall pick in next year’s draft as it attempts to dig out of a multiyear tailspin.
The Royals will try to bounce back from a 3-1 walk-off loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday afternoon. Royals reliever Jason Hammel gave up a double to Max Kepler and a homer to Willians Astudillo, all with two outs, for the team’s fourth loss in its past five games.
White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (10-10, 5.85 ERA) will make his 29th start. The 24-year-old has shown improvement since the All-Star break, posting five quality starts in his last seven outings, but he is coming off a turbulent game in which he gave up five runs (four earned) in 1 1/3 innings against the Detroit Tigers.
In five career outings against the Royals, Giolito is 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA. He picked up his first win against Kansas City in 2017 and has two victories in three starts against the club in 2018.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Giolito and fellow starter Reynaldo Lopez have thrown more strikes lately.
“Their lines to the plate are better,” Renteria recently said to reporters. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) talks to those guys. They talk about back-to-front, keeping a good line, ‘staying in the tunnel,’ as he talks about.
“I think they understand they’re not always going to make a perfect pitch, but they make adjustments a little quicker now. If they pull off line, those are one of the things that — especially in talking to them — that they’re able to recover. They know exactly what they’re doing, and they’re able to make the adjustment.”
For the Royals, right-hander Jakob Junis (8-12, 4.32 ERA) will make his 27th start. He has won back-to-back outings, limiting opponents to two earned runs in his past 16 innings for a 1.13 ERA during that span. One more victory will tie his career high of nine, which he set as a rookie last year.
Junis is 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA in three career starts against the White Sox. The Sterling, Ill., native has surrendered a half-dozen home runs in 16 2/3 innings while walking eight and striking out 15.
Less than two weeks ago, Junis posted the first complete game of his career.
“It’s awesome,” Junis said to the Kansas City Star. “That’s a goal you set to do. … Hopefully more to come.”