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Gamethread: Royals at White Sox (ss) / White Sox at Rangers (ss)

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Michael Kopech and James Shields (who?) start today in split-squad action

MLB: Chicago White Sox-Media Day
Mystery Man: James Shields gets his first spring start today for the Chicago White Sox. He figures to be the Opening Day starter.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

OK, a lot to go over here. We have split squads today, meaning double Chicago White Sox baseball. Sounds good to me. Not sure if either of these games can top yesterday’s, but hey, anything can happen.

Kansas City Royals at White Sox

Time: 2:05 p.m. CST

Webcast: whitesox.com

TV: None

Radio: None

Here is who the Sox will roll out against Danny Duffy and the Royals:

  • It’s Michael Kopech Day. Not much more to say other than he’s been pretty darn good. He’s pitched 4 ⅓ innings without giving up an earned run, with six strikeouts. Yesterday, GM Rick Hahn said definitively that Kopech would not be starting the season in the majors, so we’ll see how the young fireballer responds. I’m expecting Renteria to give Kopech three innings of work today.
  • Duffy had a strong 2017 but posted a 7.77 ERA against the White Sox, the highest of any opponent.
  • Jose Abreu is off to a bit of a slow start this spring, but is a career .350 hitter against Duffy.
  • Matt Davidson is hitting cleanup today. He leads the Cactus League with 14 (!) RBIs. It was, however, #MattyDDay yesterday, so adding three RBI was only appropriate.

***

White Sox at Texas Rangers

Time: 2:05 p.m. CST

Webcast: none

TV: None

Radio: MLB.TV (Rangers broadcast)

Here is the lineup against the Rangers:

  • Renteria has shielded our eyes (boo!) from hanging breaking balls and lost velocity enough this spring training. There he is ... James Shields will take the mound for the Sox today, for the first time this spring.
  • Shields and Don Cooper have worked on different arm angles and release points that seemed to work toward the end of last year. He posted a 3.94 ERA in September and October, with a 1.18 WHIP — not great, but certainly a massive improvement.
  • Half of the Yo-Yo combo is atop the lineup, with Yoan Moncada leading off again. I still think he’s a future two-hole hitter, but if he’s comfortable leading off, there’s no reason to change it up.
  • Cole Hamels will start for the Rangers. He went 11-6 with a 4.20 ERA in 24 starts last season.

And here are the additional pitchers for both games today:

Also per Van Schouwen, Robbie Ross has gotten in two live batting practice sessions since arriving in camp and is planning on seeing his first game action tomorrow vs. the San Diego Padres.