White Sox at Royals Preview (4/6): Looking to avoid the sweep
Mar 31, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcherChris Sale
throws a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of an opening day baseball game at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Did you know in 20 of the last 27 games in the series between the Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals have been decided by two runs or less?
Last season, the White Sox were 6-3 at Kauffman Stadium against the Royals, and today they could get closer to those 2013 numbers (how often do we want that to happen) at the home of the Royals by sending ace left-hander Chis Sale to the mound opposite of Royals right-handed ace James Shields.
With the 25-year old Sale on the hill, it is good-and-bad for the White Sox, because he is the best pitcher on the team, but he’s also received just one run of support in his past five starts against the Royals, which equals 36 innings.
The White Sox really need to help the No.1 pitcher out at the plate, because if they give him another low amount of run support today, this could be the first time of the season the White Sox get swept in a series.
Mar 31, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcherJames Shields
(33) pitches against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning of an opening day baseball game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
It is good to see Tyler Flowers back behind the plate today, as he had an off day for rest on Saturday. Entering today’s game, Flowers is 7-for-8 in his past two games, and has the longest hitting streak by a White Sox batter since Magglio Ordonez way back in 2001.
Did you know last April, Flowers has just 11 hits in all of April last season, which amounted to 20 games?
In looking at Shields, he has struggled against Alexei Ramirez during his career with Ramirez batting .429 against him with two home runs, one triple, one double and 18 total hits, which include five RBIs.
Flowers has faced Shields five times in his career, collecting a .200 batting average. Avisail Garcia has faced Shields 10 times, also with a .200 batting average.
This isn’t a “must-win” game for the White Sox, I mean it is still April and the sixth game of the season, but it would be nice to see this team avoid the sweep and see Sale have a great day on the mound. (My fantasy team would appreciate it)
More Game Day facts:
• More on Sale: Having that one run of support against the Royals in those five previous starts has a big effect on his overall record against the Royals, which is 5-7 (2.68 ERA), amounting to 84 innings pitched. Last season, Sale was 1-2 against the Royals with an 1.84 ERA in four starts.
• Another interesting note from this season: All five games have been decided by no more than two runs.
• Fact about Sale: Did you know Sale has kept left-handed hitters to a batting average of .188 in his two-plus years as a starting pitcher?
• The White Sox bullpen enters today’s game by allowing a run in three of the first five games, resulting in two losses, three blown saves. In the past three games, the bullpen ERA is 6.92 (13 innings) with nine walks.
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