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Gamethread II - White Sox at Royals

Opening weekend continues!

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals
Ryan O’Hearn is a big guy with a big swing
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Hello baseball fans! It’s Saturday baseball and I’m your host, Hokius! The regular season is finally here and now that we’ve all survived the first off-day get ready to dig into some more baseball. Today’s pitching matchup with feature young Royal Jakob Junis and his improved change-up against “other guy in the Lucas Giolito trade” Reynaldo Lopez for the White Sox.

Junis had an up and down season for the Royals last year. He was the only pitcher to stick in the rotation the entire season and there’s some definite value in that kind of consistency but if he could add some of the “pitching well” kind of consistency he’d be even better. He’s apparently been working on his change-up to achieve that exact goal. Unfortunately, his spring stats were a bit mixed in that regard. He had a 5.12 ERA but also struck out 19 in 19.2 innings while walking only four. Hopefully the work starts to pay off now.

Reynaldo Lopez joined the White Sox rotation in 2017 but had a really very nice 2018 campaign which saw him pitch 188.2 innings with a 3.91 ERA. He doesn’t strike out too many and he’ll walk his fair share which means FIP doesn’t particularly like him but he’ll probably have success against the kind of Royals lineup we’ve grown accustomed to. Then again, Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez won’t be playing in royal blue this season so maybe the culture will change a bit without them? Only time will tell.


One odd thing in the Royals’ lineup is that Whit Merrifield is starting in right field again while Chris Owings continues to play second base. Facing a right-hander today, I expected the Royals to let Lucas Duda play designated hitter and get Soler out on the field. Perhaps an adjustment was made to protect the oft-injured outfielder from further danger.

As I’m writing this first draft I’m hearing reports of snow flurries at the stadium which may or may not cause a delay or postponement of the game. If you’re reading this on your way to the stadium right now I hope you’re not driving and that you also brought your cold weather gear. Here’s hoping the Royals will actually get to play this game. One day off after the return of America’s Pastime was enough, thanks very much.