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Gamethread: Royals at White Sox (opener)

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Tim Anderson will face Brad Keller for the first time at home since his historic bat spike

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals
Long Time, No See: It has been one week since the Sox and Tim Anderson last saw Brad Keller.
Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The sun is out. Birds are chirping. The Chicago White Sox are on a six-game winning streak after sweeping their last two series. And two baseball games will be played today!

For the first one, Lucas Giolito is on the mound for the South Siders and Brad Keller is on the mound for the Kansas City Royals. Ah, what a beautiful day today is shaping out to be.

The Sox’s ace is 2-3 with a 4.54 ERA (4.53 xERA) in seven starts, so it has been rough going for Giolito. He is in the bottom 7% of the league with a 14.6 barrel percentage (the highest of his career was 9.4% in 2019). Lucas is riding a 27.9 strikeout percentage, a category that he was in the top 8% and 10% in 2020 and 2019, respectively. If he works for strikeouts and misses barrels, our ace will be OK.

Lucas has seen these Royals once before during this 2021 season on May 9 — his previous start. He pitched five innings, gave up one earned, five hits, two walks, and struck out two. He did lower his ERA from 4.99 to 4.54. I expect more dominance and strikeouts this afternoon.

Brad Keller is also having a rough start to the season, as he is 2-4 with a 7.31 ERA (7.52 xERA — bottom 3% of the league). He gives up an xBA of .320 (bottom 2% of the league), a .581 xSLG (bottom 5%), a .411 wOBA (bottom 5%), and a .416 xwOBA (bottom 3%). He is bad.

Keller has seen our Sox two times before, on April 8 and May 7. Combined, he has gone 9 13 innings, has given up 11 hits, seven earned, three homers, four walks and has struck out nine. Looking for more “Bad” Keller today.

As for the batters, Tim Anderson continues his permanent stay at the top of the order; he will be looking for two consecutive leadoff home runs to start the ballgame, and maybe even another bat flip. Take a look at the rest of today’s lineup; it is definitely more palatable than yesterday’s.

Also, point of order, Alex McRae was called up from Charlotte as the 27th man for today’s doubleheader.

Known Sox killer Whit Merrifield is batting leadoff for the Royals.

Today’s first game of the split doubleheader starts at 2:10 p.m. CT. NBC Sports Chicago and the MLB Network will be broadcasting the game; you can listen in on ESPN 1000. Jeremy Karll has both Six Packs today, and Colleen Sullivan gets out her poison pen for tonight’s nightcap recap.

Let’s keep the wins rolling on in!