Kansas City Royals (58-58 SU, 58-58 RL, 53-57-6 O/U) vs. Chicago White Sox (45-70 SU, 61-54 RL, 54-56-5 O/U)
MLB: Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 2:10 p.m. EST
The Line: Kansas City Royals -135/Chicago White Sox +115. Total: 10.
The Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals will conclude a three-game series when they square off at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Sunday afternoon. Kansas City had lost five in a row before picking up a one-run victory on Saturday. The White Sox are now 5-1 in their last six outings.
Success against the division
The Royals’ best hope of getting back in the American League Central race might be continuing their hot play against division rivals. They aim for their 10th win in their last 11 contests against AL Central foes when they face the host White Sox in the rubber match of a three-game set on Sunday. Kansas City snapped a five-game skid with a 5-4 win on Saturday, ending Chicago’s four-game winning streak and evening the series at a game apiece. Since opening the season 2-11 inside the division, the Royals are 15-7 against division opponents since June 1. Kansas City’s bullpen got the job done on Saturday but has recorded only one scoreless game since July 30 and has posted an 8.69 ERA over the past six games.
Left-hander Jason Vargas (13-6, 3.40 ERA) is taking the mound for Kansas City on Sunday. Vargas is one win away from tying his career high set in 2012 with Seattle and is on pace for the lowest full-season ERA in his career. The 34-year-old has struggled over his last six outings, though, going 1-3 with a 7.62 ERA after he was tagged for six runs over 4.2 innings in a loss to St. Louis on Tuesday.
Another blown lead
Chicago’s youth movement continues to play well, but the bullpen couldn’t hold a lead Saturday as the Royals rallied for their ninth win this season when trailing after seven innings. Outfielder and designated hitter Nicky Delmonico is 14-for-34 during a nine-game hitting streak and is the first player in franchise history to reach base in each of his first 11 major-league contests. First baseman Jose Abreu homered twice on Saturday to become the first White Sox player to start his career with four consecutive 20-homer seasons.
Derek Holland (6-11, 5.25 ERA) will oppose Vargas on Sunday. The left-hander ended a string of nine appearances (eight starts) without a win when he picked up his first victory since June 13 on Tuesday against Houston. Holland allowed three runs over 5.2 innings, but he also issued seven walks–an ongoing concern. The 30-year-old is 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA in 10 games (eight starts) against the Royals.
The Kansas City Royals are:
- 9-1 in their last 10 games against the American League Central
- 5-1 in their last six road games against teams with losing home records
- 23-9 in Vargas’ last 32 starts
The Chicago White Sox are:
- 8-24 in their last 32 overall
- 4-13 in their last 17 games against the American League Central
- 2-11 in their last 13 games against left-handed starters
Kansas City outfielder Melky Cabrera is 12-for-34 with three homers and 12 RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak, and he is batting .314 with 13 RBIs in 13 games since being acquired from the White Sox. The Royals are 9-1 in their last 10 against the American League Central, 5-1 in their last six on the road against opponents with losing home records, 23-9 in Vargas’ last 32 starts, and 5-1 in Vargas’ last six road starts. Chicago is 8-24 in its last 32 overall, 4-13 in its last 17 against the American League Central, and 2-11 in its last 13 against left-handed starters. Expect those trends to continue.