Do you see that? Its first place. Right around the bend. All we have to do is turn the corner. Lead the way Moose.
The Royals face their division rivals the Chicago White Sox with an outside chance of vaulting into first place when the weekend is all said and done. Tonight is the only pitching matchup of the weekend that favors the White Sox. Jose Quintana is a very underrated and very good young pitcher. His FIP is nearly two runs below Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie's, and since the beginning of the 2013 season, he's 7th among all American League starting pitchers in WAR. The Colombian-born southpaw has never defeated the Royals, going 0-4 in nine starts with a 4.06 ERA, including a 3-1 loss to Guthrie back in Kansas City on May 21.
The twenty-five year old Quintana took an odd route to the big leagues, bouncing around from the Mets to the Yankees, before signing with the White Sox as a minor league free agent. He relies on a lot of off-speed pitches, throwing a curveball with effectiveness, and adding a two-seam fastball, a slider, and a changeup to his four-seam fastball that runs in the low-90s. Quintana does a fine job suppressing the long ball (shouldn't be an issue this weekend), and relies on ground balls to get hitters out, although he is striking out 7.3 hitters per nine innings.
Jeremy Guthrie has pitched much of this year as if he's on borrowed time. Despite a career low strikeout rate (4.1 per nine innings), and a 5.04 FIP, he has pitched reasonably well this year. He has gone at least six innings, giving up four runs or fewer in eleven of his thirteen starts this year, pretty much what the Royals expected from him.
Relevance in June. Dayton is a genius.