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Gamethread: Royals at White Sox

Lucas Giolito looks to lead the South Siders to back-to-back AL Central series wins.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago White Sox Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The White Sox (17-29) and the Royals (14-32) face off in game two of the series, in a heated battle for fourth place in the AL Central. This is the last time they will meet until September, so taking this series would be ideal, after an unfortunate loss in Kansas City the last time around.

Lucas Giolito and Seby Zavala are the battery for the Southside this afternoon, looking to shut down the ever-struggling Royals. Giolito has been having a spotty, but overall decent start to the season, with a 3.86 ERA after his first nine starts. He’s proven he can match up well against good teams, though his 2-3 doesn’t fully represent some of his most successful outings (thank you, silent offense). Walks and home runs have been less of a factor for him this year, and he is still striking guys out about 25% of the time, aiding to his ability to keep the White Sox in games.

The White Sox bats seem to have woken up a bit over the last few games, with the continuous explosive bat of DH Jake Burger, whose 1.067 OPS is leading the team, and the return of Yoán Moncada, who has settled right back in with five hits in the last four games, and holding down third base with his elite defense. Tim Anderson remains at short and batting lead off, with Hanser Alberto and Andrew Vaughn holding down the right side of the infield. Luis Robert Jr. has also been excellent lately, producing at least two hits in four of his last seven games.

Jordan Lyles will lead the way for Kansas City today, who has been less-than-stellar this year, with a pretty brutal start to the year. He has an 0-7 record, bolstered by a 7.14 ERA. He’s given up double the home runs as Lucas Giolito, with 14, and has also posed 38 strikeouts to Giolito’s 56. Best case scenario, the offense jumps on Lyles early in the game and take advantage of his weaknesses.

Bobby Witt Jr. will lead off for the Royals, followed by Vinnie Pasquantino and Salvador Pérez, who have been the strongest hitters of the Kansas City starters, both with a .829 OPS. Salvy is a known Sox killer, and I think we’d all prefer him to not ruin this beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Catch the action in the usual places at ESPN AM 1000 and NBSCH. Let’s get another series W!