With both former American League Central leaders in a tailspin, the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox both get to try to right the ship while taking advantage of the other's struggles. After a hot stretch in which they won 13 of 16, the Royals have dropped seven in a row. Not to be outdone, with a win on Thursday, the White Sox improved their record over the last 26 games to 7-19.
Game One - Friday, 7:10 PM CDT
After a dominant first nine starts in the season, Sale has come back down to Earth in his last three. In those 16.2 innings, Sale has struck out 16 and walked eight while allowing 12 earned. Sale just faced the Royals two starts ago, so hopefully for Kansas City the recency of having seen his stuff works in their favor. If not, Sale, one of the best starters in the American League, could do as he has done many times before, dominate the Royals.
Kennedy has had his fortunes reverse in 2016 with the defense behind him allowing him to outperform his peripherals. With a home run rate coming back to acceptable levels and a .268 BABIP, Kennedy's ERA has been a relatively sparkling (at least for the Royals' rotation) 3.44.
Game Two - Saturday, 1:10 PM CDT
One could argue that Quintana has pitched even better than the Chicago's ace, Chris Sale. His FIP and xFIP are both better. Though the Royals have historically gotten the best of Quintana, there's no reason to believe that this struggling Kansas City offense consisting of a few major-league regulars and a slew of Triple-A guys will enjoy the same luck as the Royals who have seen him often.
Chris Young has suffered a pretty extreme fate this season, with his struggles being tied to yielding the most home runs in the majors. In Young's last start where he was building back up to a starter's workload, he actually looked pretty good until he got up toward the 70-pitch mark, so there are some signs of encouragement when it comes to Young. Still, because of who Young is, his is a high-wire act without a net.
Game Three - Sunday, 1:10 PM CDT
Carlos Rodon's spot in the rotation slated for skipping this time around due to neck discomfort. With Mat Latos having been designated for assignment to make room on the roster for James Shields, it is anyone's guess as to who takes Rodon's spot this Sunday.
Upon being reintroduced to the rotation, Duffy has been positively dominant two times through the order. Unfortunately the third time through has been a bit of the problem for him so far. Perhaps some of this is related to building up his pitch count, but it could also be that with the way he is pitching, the third time through the order penalty is particularly cruel.
Stats through Thursday, June 9
After being a middle-of-the-road unit through their torrid start to the season, the White Sox offense has come crashing back toward their perceived true-talent level. They are now slashing .242/.313/.378 with a .302 wOBA and 87 wRC+. Their struggles as a team have led to a handful of veterans being designated for assignment, starting with pitchers John Danks and more recently Mat Latos. Now heading into action today, the White Sox designated veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins for assignment and promoted top prospect Tim Anderson from Triple-A Charlotte. Rollins had been losing playing time to utility man Tyler Saladino as it was. Though averse to walking, Anderson is not a player without some serious upside. Whether he's the salve the Sox need is another thing entirely.
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