KC Royals Series Preview: Royals (11-4) at White Sox (6-8)

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On the heels of a 4-2 homestand against Oakland and Minnesota, the KC Royals travel east to US Cellular Field against division foe Chicago. These teams just met to open the 2015 season at Kauffman Stadium a couple weeks ago.

Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas lead the Royals to Chicago for the first time in 2015. Photo Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

What’s changed? First off the White Sox are 6-5 since leaving KC while our boys in blue are 8-4. Ok, small sample sizes, but that’s how short of time it’s been since these two last met. We also did our first series Q&A of this season with Stephen Forsha editor of Southside Showdown

Kings of Kauffman: How have fans taken the “slow” start after the shopping spree this offseason?
Southside Showdown: It all depends on the day with this team. Sometimes a loss can be acceptable, but most of the losses by the White Sox this season haven’t been that kind to the ball club. Fans are frustrated with the “inconstancy” at the plate with this team, because one day they will hit everything, and others the White Sox won’t hit anything.

With the high expectations fans had the offseason with the rebuild, a losing record at this point of the season doesn’t sit too well with anyone.

KOK: What’s your take on why it’s taken longer for this team to get going?
SS: That is a million dollar question for start of this season, but one reason was the White Sox is having trouble putting consecutive wins together, and the starting pitching has been hit or miss this season as well. Chris Sale has yet to have a bad outing in his first two starts, and following his Opening Day Start, Jeff Samardzija has pitched very well, but he has just one win to show for it.

The White Sox have had problems with putting pitching and hitting together on the same night, and being two games under .500 entering the series with Royals that is proof they still haven’t put everything together on a consistent basis.

KOK: Which player(s) should Royals fans take note of this weekend?
SS: Thursday the player they should take notice of is Chris Sale, because thus fan in two starts this season he’s really put together a nice resume. Sale is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings pitched. Opponents (Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers) are batting .200 against him14 strikeouts this season.

Another player is Melky Cabrera who is bating .293 in 14 games. Since April 18 Cabrera has collected 11 hits in 21 at-bats. In that same span he’s added four RBIs and struck out just three times.

And of course Jose Abreu is a must watch player with his .291 average, plus his five home runs and 12 RBIs. In his past 10 games Abreu is batting .317 with 11 RBIs and five runs.

KOK: Since two weeks ago what’s happened with Chicago?
SS: Since last playing the Royals, the White Sox have won consecutive games just one time, a three-game winning streak from April 11-14, leaving them, in my view, as an inconsistent team to watch. They’ve been frustrating to watch at times, but they’ve also have had some good days sprinkled in, with the 12-run game against the Tigers, but the very next day they allowed nine runs in a 9-1 loss.

They’ve yet to put everything together, and this four-game series won’t make that process any easier.

KOK: Series Prediction?
SS: I’m not so sure on this series for the White Sox, because with series wins against the Twins and Indians they’ve yet to win a series against a team with a winning record. This ball club has yet to prove they belong in the same conversation with the Royals and Tigers this season, but maybe they can start that path this weekend. I’m giving this series a split, especially with the White Sox having Sale on the mound for one of the four games.

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Probable Pitching Match-ups:
Thursday, 7:10 pm – Yordano Ventura/RHP (2-1, 4.80) v. Chris Sale/LHP (2-0, 2.25)
Friday, 7:10 pm – Danny Duffy/LHP (1-0, 5.51) v. Jose Quintana/LHP (1-1, 8.40)
Saturday, 1:10 pm – Edinson Volquez/RHP (2-1, 1.99) v. John Danks/LHP (0-2, 6.06)
Sunday, 1:10 pm – Jason Vargas/LHP (1-1, 6.75) v. Hector Noesi/RHP (0-2, 5.23)

Comments on Pitching Match-ups – There will be a lefty pitching each day of this series as Chicago will start a south paw three of the four games this series. Minus Sale and Vargas all other starters pitched in the first series between these AL Central foes.
Game 1: Ventura making his first start since Saturday night against Oakland where he left early in taking his first defeat. Sale is unbeaten, KC didn’t face him at the K which given the lefty’s success against our boys in blue is a good thing but he is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA this season so far.
Game 2: Duffy lacked command in his no-decision versus the A’s on Sunday but he left trailing and was bailed out by his offense. Quintana has a high ERA and when these two squared off on April 8 both pitchers didn’t figure into the decision.
Game 3: Volquez continues to eat up innings while being everything Dayton Moore hoped he’d be when signing him this offseason. Danks was unbeaten against the Royals before being outdueled by Edinson and KC on April 9 in a 4-1 defeat.
Game 4: Game four features two pitchers in Vargas and Noesi who could badly use a victory with how their ERA’s are and the slow starts they’ve gotten off to.

Series Predictions – Let me cut to the chase and say that I think this series ends in a split between these two rivals. Why do I lean that way? I think that Chicago has been playing better in the two weeks since these teams last met and the Pale Hoes are always tough at home. I lean that Kansas City holds the pitching advantage in three of the four games with Thursday being the exception. Prediction: Royals and White Sox split

2015 Meetings:
The KC Royals swept the Chicago White Sox en route to their 7-0 start with wins of 10-1, 7-5 and 4-1 at Kauffman Stadium. Lorenzo Cain had an incredible series which really has propelled him to his fast start so far in 2015 which hopefully continues this weekend.

Franchise History:
Chicago holds an all-time advantage of 363-340 against Kansas City between these AL Central opponents. The Chisox are 201-155 on the south side which includes at 109-85 record at “the Cell” against the boys in blue.

TV/Radio Coverage:
FOX Sports Kansas City will broadcast all three games with Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler on the call. FSKC will televise the ring and raising of the 2014 AL Champions banner during Royals Live which is hosted by Joel Goldberg and Royals Hall of Famer Jeff Montgomery from the field.

The Royals Radio Network (610 Sports in Kansas City) has Royals Hall of Famer/2007 Ford C. Frick Award winner Denny Matthews who’s joined in the booth by Steve Physioc and Steve Stewart describing all the action from the K.

2015 Series Schedule/Results v. White Sox (KC 3-0)
April 6-8, Kauffman Stadium: W 10-1, W 7-5, W 4-1
April 23-26, US Cellular Field
July 17-19, US Cellular Field
August 7-9, Kauffman Stadium
September 4-6, Kauffman Stadium
September 29-October 1, US Cellular Field

Game Notes:
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals

Next: Bubba Starling Promoted to Northwest Arkansas

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