Last year's American League Central race was a snoozefest. In early June, the Royals had been in either first or second place the entire year. On June 9, the Royals won a game agains the Minnesota Twins to grab first place again. That was Game 56. The Royals held onto first place all the way through 162, crushing their AL Central opponents, and crowned that with a first place ranking in all of Major League Baseball with a World Series victory in the postseason.
This year's AL Central race has been equally snoozefestian, as the Chicago White Sox, tonight's opponent, have been in first place all but six games so far. However, they have faltered of late, losing four of their last five. This will be the first meeting between the Royals and the White Sox and only the fourth AL Central series in which Kansas City has participated so far.
Tonight's starter for the Sox is Jose Quintana, who Eric Hosmer recently named as the most underrated player in baseball. Only 27 years old, the lefty starter's ERA this season is a tiny 1.54. Quintana has been remarkably consistent, as his ERAs have ranged from 3.32 to 3.76 apart from 2016.
The Royals send Dillon Gee to the mound for his second start of the season. Gee's ERA is a nice 3.12, but it is significantly lower than his FIP and xFIP, suggesting that he's been a recipient of good luck.
Here's the Royals' highly unsurprising lineup tonight:
#Royals vs LHP Quintana:— Joel Goldberg (@goldbergkc) May 20, 2016