3 reasons why the KC Royals might get well this weekend

(Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals will face excellent Chicago pitching. But it can be beaten.

White Sox manager Tony La Russa will deploy three of his biggest guns against Kansas City this weekend—Carlos Rodon starts tonight, Lance Lynn gets La Russa’s nod Saturday evening, and Lucas Giolito goes Sunday. Beating just one will be a formidable task for the Royals. But it won’t be impossible.

Tonight may be the toughest test. Lefthander Rondon is 4-0 with a microscopic 0.72 ERA (two unearned runs in 25 innings); he has a complete game shutout against Cleveland, who he’s beaten twice, and struck out 12 against Detroit in his last start.

Rondon hasn’t faced the Royals since losing to them on Opening Day 2019 and is 2-3 against them in his career. He’ll oppose Brad Keller, who’s 2-3.

After missing time with a right trapezius issue, Lynn returned Saturday to beat Cleveland, but wasn’t quite as good as in his three pre-injury starts. The righty gave the Indians three runs in five innings, after surrendering no earned runs against the Angels in 4.2 innings and two against Cleveland in six; in between those games, he threw a complete game shutout at the Royals with 11 strikeouts and no walks. He’s 2-1, 1.82.

Lynn, though, may not last long against the KC Royals. As espn.com reported him saying after his win Saturday, he “felt great” but probably isn’t ready to pitch extended innings:

"“The next start, I don’t think it will be full-go. I think it will be another two or three till it’s full-go, go out, whatever pitch count, there’s no pitch limit, there’s no anything, go do your thing.”"

So, whether the KC Royals can get to Lynn early might not matter: he may not get many innings in against them anyway. And that can only help Kansas City.

Lynn will face rookie Daniel Lynch, 0-0, who pitched well in his first big league start Monday.

Surprisingly, Giolito, 7-2 lifetime against the Royals, may be the most vulnerable of Chicago’s weekend starters. The righthander is struggling with a 1-3, 4.99 record and lost his last three starts, including a battering at Boston’s hand when the Red Sox knocked him around for eight runs (seven earned)—he lasted only two batters into the second inning. He surrendered eight runs in 13.1 combined innings in the other two losses.

Also boding well for Kansas City is Giolito’s 9.26 road ERA and his road opponents’ .280/.345/.480 slash.

Mike Minor, 2-1, starts against Giolito.

And although the Sox have star reliever Liam Hendriks, getting into their bullpen could be beneficial. It’s blown seven of 12 save opportunities (Hendriks has all five saves) and, although Jose Ruiz, Michael Kopech and Garrett Crochet have sub-2.00 ERAs (Crochet is on the Injured List), Matt Foster’s 9.72 in 10 games, Evan Marshall’s 6.75 in 10, and Codi Heurer’s 6.08 in 11 suggest the bullpen can be hurt.