3 sweet things the KC Royals could accomplish Saturday night

Tonight might be a big one at The K.
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Fueled by Brady Singer's second shutdown performance in as many new season starts, MJ Melendez's clutch late-inning hit, and a game-saving pitch from reliever James McArthur, the KC Royals edged Chicago 2-1 Friday evening. The victory evened the Royals' record at 4-4 and helped soften the blow of two walk-off losses to Baltimore earlier in the week.

The win also set the stage for what could be, even this early in the season, a big Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium. With a win in the 6:10 p.m. CDT game, Kansas City can accomplish a trio of good things.

A victory will push KC above .500 for the first time in a very long while

Fortunately for the Royals, James McArthur came through when the Royals badly needed a break Friday night. Summoned by manager Matt Quatraro to kill the ninth-inning Chicago threat Will Smith unfortunately created by allowing a one-out double to Luis Robert Jr. and walking Kevin Pillar, McArthur, a legitimate candidate to supplant Smith as KC's closer if Smith's struggles continue, saved the game with a second-pitch double play offering to Andrew Vaughn.

The victory pushed the Royals to .500, into third place in the American League Central, and gave them a shot at inching above .500, a place they haven't been since April 10, 2022, when a 17-3 loss to Cleveland made them 2-1 and triggered a five-game losing streak.

The KC Royals can grab their first series win of the young season

Kansas City maddeningly squandered its first opportunity to take a series when the Orioles walked the club off via James McCann's two run single Wednesday night. The Royals' 4-1 Tuesday win created the rubber game by avenging Baltimore's Monday walk-off victory.

Now, and thanks in great part the clutch run-scoring, tie-breaking double MJ Melendez delivered in the eighth inning Friday, KC has the chance to clinch its first 2024 series win. Beating the White Sox tonight will do that trick, and set up a potential series sweep when the two clubs close out this four-game set Sunday afternoon.

Michael Wacha can join the rest of the starters with a quality outing

When the Royals put the finishing touch on their rotation by naming Alec Marsh their fifth starter, few may have believed then just how good the starters would be this early in the season. But good they've been — Singer's superb 6.1-inning, one-run, two-hit Friday effort against Chicago gave the staff its seventh quality start in eight tries.

Only Michael Wacha doesn't have a quality start yet, but he came close when, in his only assignment so far, he gave up three runs in five innings Monday against Baltimore. But he can join the Royals' quality start club tonight.

Why Chicago might win this game

Little evidence suggests the White Sox will beat Kansas City tonight. At 1-6, the Sox are in last place in the AL Central, have been shut out twice, are averaging less than two runs a game, and scored six of their 13 runs in a game they lost 7-6 to Detroit. And they aren't getting good pitching. Maybe they win tonight because they're due?

Why the Royals should win this game

Most everything points to a Kansas City victory. Aside from the bullpen's slip-ups, the pitching has been excellent — through Friday's games, the rotation, which has given Chicago only two runs, has the best starting ERA (1.43) in the majors, and the otherwise shaky pen has held the Sox scoreless.

And the hitters have been generally good in the first two games of the series, going 17-for-64 overall and 6-for-19 (.315) with runners in scoring position.

Who's starting for each team tonight?

Here's the Royals' starting lineup:

As of this writing, the White Sox hadn't released their lineup.

How to follow the game

Bally Sports Kansas City has tonight's telecast, and the game can be head on KCSP-AM 610 Sports Radio and the other stations on the Royals Radio Network. Streamers can find the information they need in our guide to watching and listening to the Royals.