Kansas City opened the season with three wins in its first four contests but will be trying to bounce back after squandering a late lead versus the division-rival Cleveland Indians. Chicago, on the other hand, has gotten off to a slow start to the season after being pegged as one of the potential dark horse contenders in the American League.
Can the White Sox turn their season around with a matchup at home against the Royals on Thursday night?
Keller hopes to rebound from ugly Opening Day startThe Royals came up short in a 4-2 loss versus the Tribe on Wednesday night. Salvador Perez homered and Jacob Junis struck out six in five innings of shutout baseball but it wasn’t enough for the Royals to complete the sweep on the road at Progressive Field.
Right-hander Brad Keller will toe the rubber for the Royals on the road against the up-and-coming White Sox on Thursday. Keller will take the mound in hopes of rebounding from a shaky 2021 debut. He allowed six earned runs and nine hits on Opening Day before getting chased after getting just four outs against the Texas Rangers. Despite posting the shortest Opening Day start in franchise history, the Royals went on the win the game, leaving Keller with a no-decision on the night. While it looks like a misprint, Keller comes in with a whopping 40.50 ERA.
Keller will try to reverse his struggles against a White Sox team that he’s had some success against in the past. The Royals right-hander hasn’t seen Chicago since the 2019 season but comes in with a career 4-3 record and a 3.20 ERA in 12 games (nine starts) against the White Sox. According to Baseball Savant, current White Sox are batters just .270 in 86 plate appearances versus the Royals’ right-hander heading into Thursday’s matchup.
Lynn flashes encouraging signs in White Sox debutThe White Sox will get a chance to build on their first series win of the season after taking two of three on the road against the Seattle Mariners. However, they will come into this weekend’s series versus Kansas City without starting shortstop Tim Anderson. Anderson strained his hamstring during the previous series in Los Angeles against the Angels and landed on the 10-day injured list as a result.
For the lead! pic.twitter.com/oiDLcfVJWk— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 7, 2021
Chicago is expected to turn to right-hander Lance Lynn for their first game at home against the Royals on Thursday. The White Sox have to be thrilled with Lynn’s first home start at Guaranteed Rate Field. Lynn had some trouble keeping the ball in the park last season and there were some question marks with his fit in a home run-friendly ballpark. However, the veteran right-hander spun 4 ⅔ innings of two-run (zero earned) ball with six strikeouts in a 5-3 loss versus the Los Angeles Angels.
Lynn last saw the Royals in 2019, going 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in two starts. He posted 12 strikeouts across 13 ⅓ innings while tossing quality starts on both occasions. Per Baseball Savant, Lynn has held current Royals hitters to a .286 batting average with a 20.4 percent strikeout rate in 103 plate appearances against them coming into this game.
- Royals are 49-106 in their last 155 games as a road underdog.
- Royals are 38-88 in their last 126 road games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Royals are 1-4 in their last 5 road games.
- White Sox are 14-3 in their last 17 games as a home favorite.
- White Sox are 9-2 in their last 11 home games with the total set at 11.0 or higher.
- White Sox are 16-5 in their last 21 home games.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Both teams are coming off of a loss in their previous contest but it’s hard to be encouraged after Keller’s Opening Day performance. The Royals’ right-hander struggled with his mechanics, giving up nine hits, six runs, and two walks without recording a strikeout in 1 ⅓ innings of work. Just one week removed from that outing, I’m not sure I’m ready to trust the Royals’ right-hander here. Lynn has been one of the AL’s best pitchers over the last two seasons and he looked sharp in his first start of the year. Take Chicago to cover the run line at home in this divisional battle on Thursday.
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams are projected for eight runs but that seems like a little low in this spot. After scoring 25 runs over their first two games of the season, Kansas City has mustered just eight combined runs over its last three contests. Meanwhile, the White Sox totaled 20 runs in their three-game series against the Mariners, so their offense appears to be trending in the right direction. Take the over in this matchup on Thursday afternoon.