White Sox Series Preview


The Chicago White Sox are 21-25 on the year and are in 4th place in the AL Central.  They are 6-4 in their last 10.  They are 12-10 at home, but 9-15 on the road.

The Kansas City Royals are 23-24 and 4 games back of the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers.  They are 4-6 in their last 10, 15-12 at home, and 8-12 on the road.

Team Rankings:

White Sox

Pitching

Royals

4.41

15th

ERA

3.95

6th

160

11th

BB

155

7th

310

22nd

SO

331

11th

1.48

T-23rd

WHIP

1.37

T-8th

217

13th

Runs Allowed

208

11th

White Sox

Hitting

Royals

.250

23rd

BA

.254

21st

.319

25th

OBP

.327

22nd

.395

24th

SLG

.407

T-19th

49

T-18th

HR

39

T-22nd

141

27th

BB

156

21st

302

13th

SO

306

14th

189

27th

Runs

200

T-22nd

White Sox

Fielding

Royals

.983

T-20th

FP

.983

T-20th

.6982

28th

DER

.6922

T-24th

29

T-17th

E

30

T-20th

8.89

 

CS%

14.29

 

The Pitching Matchups:
5/29 LHP-Clayton Richard (1-0, 3.55) vs. RHP-Brian Bannister (4-1, 2.79)
5/30 LHP-Mark Buehrle (6-1, 2.59) vs. RHP-Gil Meche (2-5, 4.55)
5/31 LHP-John Danks (4-3, 4.59) vs. RHP-Zack Greinke (8-1, 0.84)

You’d think playing the White Sox would be the cure for what ails Kansas City since the Royals rank better that the Sox in all but 3 of the above categories.  Even more promising, the White Sox starting 3 LHP may work to Kansas City’s advantage.  The Royals are hitting .265/.330/.395 against lefties and .249/.326/.414 against righties.

Game 1 should be a good matchup between Richard and Bannister.  As a starter Richard has a 2.76 ERA and 1.347 WHIP compared to his 4.32 ERA and 1.680 WHIP as a reliever.  Statistically Richard, as a starter, is the White Sox LH version of Brian Bannister who has a 2.79 ERA and 1.286 WHIP.

Game 2 would be an excellent matchup if we knew the real story behind Meche’s recent struggles.  Since we don’t know which Meche will show up to pitch, the advantage is definitely in the favor of Buehrle and the White Sox.  Buehrle will take the mound in Saturday’s game looking to improve upon his career 19-8 record and 3.48 ERA against the Royals.

Game 3 goes to Zack Greinke.  If he’s not pitching against Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax or Pedro Martinez in their primes, I’m not betting against him in any of his starts.

Konerko, Dye, and Thome are turning in their typical seasons and all 3 are slugging better than .500 on the season.  They are the only 3 starters to have an OPS+ above 100 in 2009.  Carlos Quentin is close to average with an OPS+ of 98, but he is hitting just .229 on the season and has yet to recapture his stroke that had him a lock for AL MVP before his wrist injury last season.  By contrast, not a single Royals player has a .500+ SLG.  Beyond their big 3, there is very little in the White Sox lineup to scare a pitcher.  Alexei Ramirez is a nice player but is struggling in his sophomore campaign hitting .240/.293/.333.  AJ Pierzynski is a solid offensive catcher but has thrown out only 2 of 35 attempted base stealers.  Only one player on their bench, Lance Nix, has an OPS+ over 100.

For the Royals, only Billy Butler (.280), Mitch Maier (.364) and Miguel Olivo (.286) are hitting over .280 during the last 7 days.  DeJesus (.259) and Guillen (.250) are the only other 2 Royals to have a batting average over .222 in that same time frame.  Alberto Callaspo (.306) is the only Royals player hitting over .300 on the season, but he has hit only .148 in the last week.

David DeJesus is starting to heat up and should be inserted permanently atop the Royals lineup.  For his career, DJ is a .295/.336/.437 when he hits atop the lineup and a .248/.324/.371 hitter when batting 2nd.  Those numbers aren’t based off a small sample size either.  He has 2,310 PA hitting leadoff and 318 PA hitting 2nd.  Coco Crisp’s career numbers are just the opposite.  In 1,421 PA in the leadoff slot, Crisp is a .259/.316/.371 hitter.  In 666 PA batting 2nd he is a .303/.353/.460 hitter.  If the Royals want to improve their offense, this is a good place to start making changes.  Even without the career numbers, Crisp is hitting .125 in the last 7 days compared to .259 for DeJesus so the move can be justified either way.  All the statistical evidence points to this change being necessary but Hillman refuses to make it.  That or he just doesn’t get it.  Trey is many things, but he isn’t an idiot so I have to assume it is his pride that is preventing this switch from actually occurring.  Soren Petro, on 810 WHB, has been banging this drum for a while now, but it is now time someone within the organization steps in and forces Trey Hillman to make the change.

Billy Butler is holding his own (.286/.298/.429) as the number 3 hitter in the lineup and he would be far more effective if he had more runners on base when he comes to the plate.  Butler has 14 doubles on the year and his well on his way to improving on his career best of 23 doubles in 2007.  He’s only 23 and as he develops in the majors, those doubles will start turning into home runs.  The power is coming and all the signs point to Billy Butler being the offensive force that he was projected to be years ago.  We may have another year or so to wait, but the power is coming and when it does Steve Balboni’s sorry franchise record of 36 HR will finally be erased from the record book.  I am constantly amazed at the number of fans who call in saying Billy Butler should be traded or that he will never been anything more than a singles hitter.

I’m not doing so well on my series preview predictions, but I am very confident that this series will be the one that gets the Royals heading back in the right direction.  They will take 2 out of 3 against the White Sox, with the chances of a series sweep around 50%.  They don’t have the power hitters that the Sox have, but the Royals are the better team across the board.  With a 3 game series in Tampa Bay looming, the Royals need to win this series in the worst way.  If Trey wakes up and swaps DJ and Coco in the lineup, the offensive improvement will be immediate and significant and could very well lead to a long winning streak.

Next Royals Game View full schedule »
Tuesday, Sep 22 Sep7:10Texas RangersBuy Tickets

Tags: AL Central Baseball Billy Butler Coco Crisp David DeJesus Kansas City Royals KC MLB White Sox