On May 11, the Royals trudged into Yankee Stadium a dispirited team, having lost nine of twelve games. They lost 6-3 that night, and fell seven games behind the first place White Sox. Some proclaimed the season over. The Royals didn't panic. There were 131 games left to go.
Less than two weeks later, the Royals stand ready to sweep the White Sox, having won five of their last six. With a win today, they can pull to within 1.5 games of first place. Even then, the season won't be over. Baseball is a marathon, and really, the pennant race has yet to even begin.
Yordano Ventura goes for the Royals to try to finish off the sweep. Ned Yost said his last start was the best he had seen from Yordano since his World Series Game 6 performance in 2014. Still, the results did not quite match the sentiment, as a three-run home run tarnished the start, and Ventura was not able to get through six innings in an 8-4 win over Boston.
Left-hander Carlos Rodon starts for the White Sox, the first time in his career he will face the Royals. The former North Carolina State star has struggled this year after an impressive rookie campaign. His 4.73 ERA and 4.47 FIP are underwhelming, but he has struck out a hitter per inning. He has been plagued by the long ball a bit this year with a home run rate of 1.58 per nine innings. The 23-year old relies on a fastball that averages 93 on the gun, with a plus slider and a change up that has been a work in progress.
Kendrys gets the afternoon off. Ned says its a mental break.
#Royals vs LHP Rodon:— Joel Goldberg (@goldbergkc) May 22, 2016
Jose Abreu also gets a Sunday afternoon off.