Floyd makes his regular season debut tonight against the Kansas City Royals, and it’s an important one because it’s crucial for him to set a positive tone for his season.
Floyd pitched the second most innings among White Sox pitchers in the Cactus League, so he should be aiming at about seven innings and 100-plus pitches.
With an off-day Monday, the White Sox bullpen is rested, but it hasn’t been untouchable through the first few games, stamina not so much the issue as making quality pitches and getting outs is.
The Royals have been swinging their bats the first four games, averaging over five runs per game (12-run outburst Sunday). Floyd can’t rely on his offense to do all the work, though they very well could score a lot of runs against Luke Hochevar.
He can’t take the Royals for granted, because they’ll jump all over him. Kansas City went 20-10 in spring training, and appears to still have a little hangover from it. The Royals are not a 90-win team, but they don’t have much to lose, so they’re going to be taking their hacks in a short, two-game series.
Floyd is an important piece to the puzzle, especially with Jake Peavy out of the rotation for at least another two or three weeks. He’s also the one whose performance is the most unpredictable. If the Royals are swinging at first-pitch fastballs, he’s going to need to adjust.
The White Sox don’t want to mess around in close games, because it may be more difficult to score on the KC bullpen than it will for the Royals to score on the Chicago bullpen.
Floyd settled for a no-decision in an above-average 2010 debut, but it didn’t stop him from getting beat up his next few outings. A quality start and a win for Floyd tonight would do wonders for Ozzie Guillen’s No. 4 starter.