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Gamethread: White Sox vs Royals

The South Siders hope to keep their winning momentum going, as Ervin Santana looks to improve on his first start

Tampa Bay Rays v Chicago White Sox
Better days ahead: Santana was roughed up in his first start against the Rays and enters the game with a 17.18 ERA.
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

After a fun weekend on multiple levels, the Chicago White Sox come back home from New York for Jackie Robinson Day.

Speaking of Tim Anderson, he has been on fire this season. He leads all of baseball in batting average (.429), is sixth in wRC+ (203), and ninth in wOBA (.463). He has been nothing short of spectacular at the plate so far, though it has been heavily influenced by a .500 BABIP and an increased contact rate.

On the pitching side, Carols Rodón has been great so far this season. Per FanGraphs, he is tied for first in the majors WAR (1.0), second in FIP (1.88), and seventh in K/9 (11.86). He is doing this with the 13th-highest rated slider in the game per Pitch Info’s pitch value per 100 pitches, and with what is a career high in swinging-strike rate. It seems like Rodón could be that ace with the hot start the Sox have been looking for since the Chris Sale trade. But let’s get to the game at hand.

Ervin Santana is on the bump tonight after an abysmal first start. Santana was not able to last four innings, as he left the game with a 15.70 FIP and a K/BB rate at .33, and both of those are not very good. His fastball velocity was up compared to 2018, but it is still far below the 93 mph he had thrown from 2010-17. He also never got batters to swing. The o-swing rate was at an terrible 17.7%, with a swinging strike rate at 4.6%; both of those are just awful. Now, it was his first start, and grand assumptions should not be made, but Santana had as bad a first start a pitcher could have. This one against the Royals is a big one today.

Heath Fillmyer is on the bump for the Royals and he also did not do well in his first start, but he also has not done well against the Sox in general. Last season, Fillmyer pitched 5 13 innings against the South Siders with an 11.81 ERA, the most against of any team against him. Jose Abreu and Anderson both have home runs off of him.

Here are the lineups:

Ballgame’s @ 7:10 p.m. CST, on NBCSCH TV and WGN radio.