The Royals get an extended stay in Chicago, taking on the White Sox after their one-game makeup against the Cubs. Kansas City has taken 10 out of 16 against the South Siders this year, and can finish strong against the fourth-place club. The Sox have lost 13 of their last 21 and are just 32-38 since the All-Star break.
The Sox offense was supposed to be a strength this year with new free agent acquisitions Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche. Instead, the Sox are dead last in the league in runs scored, so expect to see a lineup overhaul next year. The White Sox have found some offense in rookie Trayce Thompson, who has looked impressive since the White Sox promoted him in August, The brother of NBA star Klay Thompson and son of former Lakers forward Mychal Thompson, Trayce, along with Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, is one of the few bright spots in a dismal season from White Sox hitters.
Despite Abreu's power, the White Sox have hit the second-fewest home runs in the league. The White Sox have gotten the least amount of production out of second base this year in the league, with a line of .224/.274/.310. The White Sox have been a poor baserunning team this season and have a stolen base success rate of just 61%. The defense has also been brutal, finishing last in all of baseball according to Fangraphs, although they have upgraded it recently with the additions of Thompson and third baseman Tyler Saladino to the lineup.
Jeff Samardzija has had a very disappointing year for someone about to hit free agency. He leads the league in hits and earned runs allowed and has a 6.61 ERA since the All-Star break. Samardzija has dropped all three starts this season against the Royals with 16 runs allowed in 17 1/3 innings. John Danks, on the other hand, has had the Royals number. Three of his seven wins this year have come against Kansas City with a 1.93 ERA in his five starts. Danks throws that slow changeup that gives Royals hitters fits. Jose Quintana continues to roll along as one of the more underrated pitcher in baseball. He has given up just three runs in September for 1.00 ERA in his last four starts.
The White Sox bullpen has generally been good, led by free agent closer David Robertson. Robertson has struck out 12.08 hitters-per-nine-innings, good for ninth in baseball. Robertson has had a 2.45 FIP and a 0.94 WHIP but has blown seven saves in 39 opportunities. Jake Petricka has put together another good season out of the pen despite a low strike out rate. The White Sox have also gotten good innings out of Zach Putnam and Matt Albers, and feature hard-throwing rookie Frankie Montas, who can hit triple digits on the radar gun.
The Royals haven't had a very good September, but a nice winning streak this week can alleviate some concerns and end the regular season on a high note. The White Sox have struggled this year, but still feature a starting rotation that can shut down the Royals if they're on their game. The Royals bats will need to come alive and get some key hits to stay in the running for home field advantage.