The Kansas City Royals will continue their American League Central clash at Guaranteed Rate Field on Wednesday afternoon as they get set for the third and final game of their series against the Chicago White Sox.
No AL Central teams have been able to gain separation through the first couple weeks of the regular season. The Royals and White Sox predictably find themselves at the bottom of the division standings, but both teams are still within five games of the division-leading Minnesota Twins. Chicago is three games back with a 6-9 record through 15 games and the Royals are 4.5 games back with a 5-11 overall record so far this year. The Royals have a respectable 5-7 record at Kauffman Stadium, but they have yet to win a road game in four tries. Can Kansas City close out their series in Chicago with a much-needed road victory on Wednesday?
Giolito looks to continue dominance of Royals
Chicago is expected to counter with 24-year-old right-hander Lucas Giolito, who has had an up-and-down start to the 2019 season. The White Sox right-hander comes in with a 2-1 overall record and a 6.19 ERA through three starts. Walks have once again been an issue early on for Giolito, as he has issued at least four free passes in each of his last two outings. He is coming off of a win in his last start against the New York Yankees, allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits in five innings of work, but did enough in a 9-6 victory.
— WGN TV News (@WGNNews) March 31, 2019
Giolito made four starts versus the Royals last season, posting a solid 2-0 record and a sparkling 2.88 ERA in those matchups, despite walking 11 batters in 25 innings of work. He also opened the year with a quality outing against Kansas City, tossing 6 ⅔ frames of two-run, three-hit ball and striking out eight batters in a 6-3 White Sox win. He sports a 4-0 record and a lifetime 2.40 ERA in seven career starts versus the Royals.
According to Baseball Savant, the current Royals lineup is batting a slim .154 in 87 plate appearances off of Giolito, who has struck them out a whopping 25.3 percent of the time. StatCast data tells a similar story too, pegging the Royals for an expected batting average of .187 and an expected slugging percentage of .374 off of the White Sox’ right-hander heading into Wednesday’s start.
Keller sticking in starting rotation after strong start
The Royals are scheduled to turn to right-hander Brad Keller for their series finale in Chicago on Wednesday. Keller has picked up where he left off last season, compiling quality starts in each of his first four outings of the regular season. The 23-year-old comes in with a 2-1 overall record to go along with a 2.45 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 25 ⅔ innings of work. He is fresh off of arguably is best start of the season, limiting the Cleveland Indians to just one run on three hits, while striking out 10 batters in 6 ⅔ frames.
Hunter Dozier was the hero today and earned a 'Maldy Splash' after his game-winning hit. #AlwaysRoyal
Dozier: "It's good to get a sweep here and we're on a high note. We're looking forward to going to Chicago." pic.twitter.com/Ayu6n7DjDz
— FOX Sports Kansas City (@FSKansasCity) April 14, 2019
Keller made seven appearances (four starts) versus the White Sox in his first Big League season, posting a 2-1 record and a 3.75 ERA in 24 innings. Three of those starts came on the road in Chicago, where he finished 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA and finished with an opposing batting average of .328.
According to Baseball Savant, the current White Sox roster is batting only .211 with a weighted on-base percentage of .253 in 103 plate appearances off of the Royals’ righty. StatCast data predicts an expected batting average of .249 and an expected slugging percentage of .335 for White Sox hitters off of Keller heading into Wednesday’s matchup.
- Royals are 3-11 in their last 14 overall.
- Royals are 1-4 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of less than .400.
- Royals are 9-43 in their last 52 during game 3 of a series.
- White Sox are 9-3 in Giolito’s last 12 starts during game 3 of a series.
- White Sox are 6-1 in Giolito’s last 7 starts vs. Royals.