For those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter, my thoughts of the most recent game the White Sox played can be summed up as follows:
Let’s forget that last game in Cincinnati the same way that Tony forgets to read the rule book, and move on to my favorite enemy: the Kansas City Royals.
The Good Guys and the Colonizers split the series. In the first game we had Lance Lynn pitching a complete game shutout and Yermín hit a home run onto the Dan Ryan. The second was lost in extra innings when the White Sox couldn’t capitalize offensively. Tim Anderson did not get to face Brad Keller, mortal enemy, as he was out with a hamstring injury. Keller, meanwhile, had a glorious beginning season ERA of 40.50 by the time he was done.
How’s it going?
Somehow the Royals are in second place, after a fairly long and inexplicable run in first. Well, tied for second with the White Sox, but still somehow in second. I guess it was inevitable that the Royals would get a turn in first with the Twins imploding remarkably, the Tigers being what they are, and Cleveland having shortstops play everywhere but shortstop.
Here’s a tweet from a few days ago that underscores how ridiculous the Royals spending any time in first place was:
The Royals lead MLB with a 16-10 record (.615 win pct)— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) May 3, 2021
They also have a -3 run diff
They're the 1st team in the modern era (since 1900) to have at least a share of the best record in MLB while having a negative run diff, at least 25 games into their season
The Royals started May with the best record in baseball (the Twins and the Tigers started May at a race to the bottom of baseball) so of course Mike Matheny, D-List Batman Villain, is being touted as some sort of savior of Kansas City. However, rolling into Wednesday they had lost five of their last seven.
Some stats that are making Royals fans happy include:
- Second-lowest strikeout percentage in the majors (FanGraphs)
- Fourth-lowest whiff rate (Baseball Savant)
- Sixth-highest percentage of contact of balls in the strike zone (Baseball Savant)
The Royals are still without Adalberto Mondesi for at least another month, as he’s still suffering from an oblique injury. Nicky Lopez, however, has been filling in just fine in the meantime. It’s also of note that team superstars Andrew Benintendi, Whit Merrifield, Hunter Dozier and Jorge Soler are all off to slow starts, which is good for opponents but bad for the Royals (White Sox know a thing or two about veterans being off to slow starts). The Royals are 5-5 in their last 10, 11-8 vs. RHSP, 5-4 vs. LHSP, 8-7 at home, and 7-6 against the Central.
Meanwhile, all is not well on the South Side. Luis Robert, as we all know, is out for 12-16 weeks — if we’re lucky, Adam Engel’s leg fell off or something, and #RIPEloy. Too bad they didn’t feel a need to shore up outfield depth during the offseason. The White Sox are currently 7-6 on the road, and badly need to look better than they have lately. The offense can start producing at any time, because the rotation can’t do it alone (cue Velma Kelly in “Chicago”).
Meanwhile, the White Sox are 7-3 in their last 10, 11-11 vs. RHSP, 5-1 vs. LHSP, and 7-6 against Central opponents. After sitting firmly in second place for most of the season, they briefly moved into a tie for first earlier this week. Let’s see if they can get back there this weekend by giving a firm stomping to the Royals.
Today is Carlos Rodón vs. Brad Keller, Enemy No. 1. Rodón was on fire all April and he’s looking to continue that into May. Aside from his no-hitter against Cleveland, overall he’s allowed seven hits across his four starts and 25 innings, striking out 36. He had a career-high 12 strikeouts against Detroit and I have to imagine that this was the Rodón we were meant to see all along. And of the 25 at-bats this year that Rodón has ended on a slider a total of zero have ended in hits for the offense. Keller allowed seven runs (two earned) in his last start on Sunday against the Twins, which gave him his third loss of the season. He lasted 4 1⁄3 innings with three strikeouts, so we will be looking for Tim Anderson to take him yard on the first pitch, and bat flip to the moon.
Saturday is Lance Lynn vs. Daniel Lynch. Most recently, Lynn managed to get the win in his first start after a brief trip to the IL, going five innings. Lynn is posting a 2-1 record with a 1.82 ERA and 29 strikeouts, and the Royals are looking for revenge. Lynch is making his second career start, after debuting Monday in a debut that saw him take three runs on four hits and four walks in 4 2⁄3 innings against three strikeouts (I’m sensing a pattern). He’s coming into Saturday with a 5.79 ERA, and the top prospect of the Royals is looking to bring that down.
Sunday is going to be Lucas Giolito vs. Mike Minor. Giolito had a rough loss on Sunday, allowing two runs (one earned) over 5 1⁄3 innings, striking out eight. He’s a bit on the high side in terms of ERA with a 4.99, and 1-3 record. Giolito has had good luck against the Royals, going 7-2 throughout his career. Minor went five innings in his last start and loaded the bases before the bullpen was called in, leading to a Royals loss on Tuesday. Minor has struggled to go deep into games this season, and is posting a 5.23 ERA and 2-1 record. He relied heavily on fastballs during his last start, so hopefully the combo of LHSP + fastballs = success for the White Sox.
Who else hates the Royals?
Any regular reader of South Side Sox knows that my most hated enemy is the Royals, but let’s hear why other people hate them, too!
Several scrub Royals teams had the Sox’s number in years we contended in the late 2000s-early 10s.— Bill Koester (@Billy_dk_89) May 7, 2021
But, I kinda love George Brett just for his reaction to the Pine Tar incident. That’s an all-time great rage moment.
Mike Sweeney, Dayton Moore, Billy Butler.— Father Sean (@sean_janko) May 5, 2021
The combo of Teahan and Randa. pic.twitter.com/oNIcqOiV8i— (limp) Dick(zkit) (@SavesTuesday) May 5, 2021
I didn’t hate them until this year when they’re actually competitive with the Sox. They’ve been bad more often than not for as long as I can remember and they were good recently at a time when the Sox were not.— Millennial Sox Fan (@MillennialSox) May 5, 2021
they took the one Red Sox player I loved with all of my heart, Andrew Benintendi. I was THIS CLOSE to shooting my shot, too!— delia catherine wears a mask and is vaxxed (@deestweets23) May 5, 2021
Carlos Beltran. Johnny Damon. Jermaine Dye (yeah you too). Losing that one Opening Day game blowing a huge lead. Making consecutive World Series while the Sox can’t make the playoffs 2 years in a row. Mitch Keller.— Leonard Skynard (@Leonard42) May 7, 2021
I have hated them since they beat the Cardinals in the "I-70" World Series in 1985, in which we were up 3-2 in the series and they got a famous bad call in their favor in game 6 that turned the series around.— Maren Yeska (@bbsnakes) May 6, 2021
They have always played us tough. Even in some of their bad years. But I loved them last year when we won 9 of 10.— @ChiSoxShow (@chisoxshow) May 6, 2021
They were supposed to be worse than this. It's still early, but I'm annoyed.— Brad (@BradFromTheGo) May 5, 2021