4 former KC Royals are finding the road bumpy in Chicago

The ex-Kansas City players are all struggling.
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The White Sox allowed the KC Royals to beat them badly Thursday evening. The two runs Kansas City put on the board through four innings would have been enough to give the club its third win of the season and the White Sox their fifth loss, but the Royals, hurting and hungry after losing twice via walk-offs in Baltimore earlier in the week, exploded with eight seventh-inning runs and blew away the Sox 10-1.

Contributing little more than their presence on the Kauffman Stadium field were former Royals Nicky Lopez and Andrew Benintendi, who went a collective 1-for-8 in the opening game of the teams' four-game series. That they struggled through the chilly night wasn't really surprising — not unlike fellow ex-Royals Martín Maldonado and Tim Hill, who avoided Chicago's late-inning meltdown because they didn't play, they're finding this season's early going rough.

Now working for ex-Kansas City bench coach and present Chicago manager Pedro Grifol, all four can justifiably hang their heads.

Three of the four Sox who used to call KC home are struggling at the plate

For Lopez and Benintendi, Thursday's contest wasn't much different than those that preceded it.

Take Lopez, the infielder who ended up playing in the postseason for the first time after Kansas City traded him to Atlanta last summer. He's started five of Chicago's games so far but hit safely in only two — the player who only three seasons ago became the first shortstop in Royals history to hit .300 has only two singles and a walk and, after Thursday, is hitting just .188.

Then there's Maldonado, the two-time Gold Glove catcher who in 2019 filled in so ably for injured Salvador Perez before the Royals shipped him to the Cubs, for whom he played only a couple of weeks before a trade deadline deal took him to Houston and ultimately that year's World Series. Despite catching four games for the Sox this year and appearing 12 times at the plate, he's hitless, and only a walk gives the offseason free agent signee any OBP at all.

And Benintendi? He's been in all six of Grifol's lineups this season but has managed only three hits — all singles — in 24 at-bats, and hasn't an RBI to his name. He hit only five homers and batted ,262 last season, his first with the Sox, and his five-year $75 million deal runs through the 2027 campaign.

The only pitcher in the former Royals bunch is also struggling

Like Maldonado, Hill arrived in Chicago over the winter via free agency. The seventh-year big leaguer blew a save and surrendered the tying run in the season opener the Sox lost to Detroit; the next day, he gave up, but wasn't charged with, the Tigers' winning run in their 3-2 victory.

Will the four Chicago players continue to struggle while they're in Kansas City? If so, the Royals' chances for a successful series won't suffer.

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