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Gamethread: White Sox at Royals

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In heat enough for a literal meltdown

Chicago White Sox v Milwaukee Brewers
Carlos Rodón will be spending a lot of the afternoon wiping away sweat.
John Fisher/Getty Images

The key numbers at game time today are 106 and 25:50.

The first one is the heat index in Kansas City, the second the time until the trade deadline, as fans keep one eye on the game and one on transaction rumors.

Not that White Sox haven’t been active, maybe. As of this writing, the rumor is they are picking up Cleveland utility infielder Cesar Hernandez, with Double-A lefty starter Konnor Pilkington shipping out in return. It’s a rare intradivisional deal involving a minor league pitcher, and the final proof, if you needed any, that Cleveland and its hospital ward of a pitching staff have quit for the year and Jason and Stoney can quit worrying how far behind they are. IN 2021, Hernandez is hitting for power (18 HRs), but not much else (97 OPS+) and is a defensive liability (-6 Rdrs) — so basically a more muscular and less versatile Leury García.

The deal may have been decided because the White Sox and Cleveland have a weekend series, so no extra travel money is needed. Meanwhile, the Sox need to swelter through another Kansas City game today, another one they should win by about 20 runs, though that hasn’t exactly happened so far.

Carlos Rodón will bring his 2.24 ERA to the mound. He faced KC twice early in the season, winning one on six innings of shutout ball, losing one on 5 23 innings of four-run ball. His last outing was mediocre, with Stoney using the term “dead arm” a couple of times — not a phrase you want to hear about a star hurler who has already thrown more than 100 pitches six times this year, despite warnings about overuse of pitchers and his particular susceptibility because he’d barely thrown since 2018.

The Royals counter with Carlos Hernandez, he of the 6.04 ERA. The White Sox couldn’t hit Royals starters with ERAs in the fives, but maybe one in the sixes will do the trick. Hernandez only has had two starts and not gone over four innings, not getting through the third against the Tigers last time out. So, much bullpen coming up.

All the Royals pitchers will be facing a lineup without Eloy Jiménez, who left last night’s game with groin tightness and José Abreu, who has a sore neck and is on a 1-for-20 streak.

Rodón will see how long he can last in the heat, which may be a big deal, because Michael Kopech and Liam Hendriks have thrown two days in a row. (Hendriks, much fun as he is, now has a 83.3% save rate, good for a five-way tie for 14th in MLB, which is about as mediocre as you can get, so maybe he needs a day off.)

The KC lineup is, as expected, heavy on righties.

Gametime 1:10 p.m. Central. Forecast for swelter. Usual broadcast suspects.