White Sox open their 118th season on the road in Kansas City. The Royals will have a surprisingly familiar face on Thursday at third base.
The Chicago White Sox will start their 2018 season on the road on Thursday afternoon against the Kansas City Royals. Neither team is expected to contend this year, with the Sox being projected to finish in third place by most projections.
With the Sox entering their second rebuilding season, the goal for this year will be the same as 2017 and that’s development of top prospects and young players currently in the Majors. The Sox will face a Royals team that saw many of its top players sign with other teams this past offseason. However, one of those top players that was eligible for free agency, returned to the team on a one-year deal.
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Kansas City isn’t the same team that won back-to-back American League Championships and a World Series title. With the Royals not having Eric Hosmer or Lorenzo Cain in their lineup anymore, this is a different team offensively. Mike Moustakas, who was also a free agent this past offseason, was expected to sign elsewhere. This didn’t happen as a slow free agency market lead Moustakas right back to the Royals on a one-year contract $6.5 million with a mutual option for 2019.
Moustakas would have a been a solid addition to a Sox team that would be expected to contend. However, the Sox didn’t choose to sign the left-handed third baseman this offseason. The 29-year-old will be a surprisingly familiar face on the Royals this season, as he did receive a sendoff from Kansas City fans along with Hosmer and Cain in their last home game in 2017.
The Royals will be without one of their biggest offensive contributors on Opening Day as Salvador Perez was diagnosed with an injury on Wednesday. Perez suffered an MCL tear in his left knee while carrying a suitcase upstairs at his home. The All-Star catcher is expected to miss four to six weeks. This is unfortunate news for a Royals team that could be well below .500 before the start of June.
Starting for the Royals against the Sox on Thursday will be Danny Duffy. The 29-year-old left-hander had a good season for Kansas City last year as he finished with a 9-10 record and 3.81 ERA. Duffy went 1-3 last season against the Sox with a 7.77 ERA in 22 total innings pitched against the team. The Sox will start James Shields on Opening Day to oppose Duffy.
Lucas Giolito, who is coming off a solid spring training, will start for the Sox on Saturday. Kansas City will start Ian Kennedy in the second game of this series. Kennedy had a forgettable season as he went 5-13 with a 5.38 ERA in 30 starts for the Royals. The 33-year-old right-hander was 0-2 with a 7.65 ERA in four starts against the Sox last season.
The Royals haven’t announced their starting pitcher for Sunday, but the Sox will start Reynaldo Lopez to conclude this series. Lopez made his Sox debut last season pitching against the Royals. After the conclusion of this series, the Sox will head to Toronto to begin a three-game series against the Blue Jays this Monday.