MLB Game Preview - White Sox v Royals

MLB Baseball
Scoreboard|Postseason|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Chi White Sox2 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 5111
Kansas City0 0 5 0 1 0 0 0 x 6132
  W: B. Keller (6-9)   L: R. Detwiler (1-1)   S: I. Kennedy (16)
10:15 AM PT11:15 AM MT12:15 PM CT1:15 PM ET13:15 ET17:15 GMT1:15 10:15 AM MST12:15 PM EST12:45 PM VEN21:15 UAE12:15 PM CT, July 18, 2019
Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri  Attendance: 13,157

White Sox, Royals to battle heat Thursday

According to STATS
According to STATS

Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals

  1. Since 2017, the White Sox are 29-21 against the Royals, including 8-4 this season, their best record against any opponent they've faced at least four times. Royals hitters are batting .215 against White Sox pitching this season, which is both Chicago's best against any single opponent and Kansas City's lowest against any AL foe.
  2. The White Sox are 22-16 against the AL Central this year but just 20-31 against the rest of MLB. Chicago starters have a 4.17 ERA in division games this year, compared to a 6.56 ERA against all other opponents.
  3. The Royals lead the majors with 87 stolen bases and 114 stolen base attempts this season. Kansas City is 11-9 in games when stealing at least two bases and 21-53 in all other games.
  4. James McCann is the only catcher this season with a .300 or better batting average against both right-handed and left-handed pitching, with at least 50 plate appearances against each. McCann's .277 improvement in OPS (.581 to .858) this year is the fifth-largest uptick among players with at least 200 plate appearances.
  5. Whit Merrifield enters the series on the longest active hit streak in baseball at 12 games. He is slashing .348/.402/.557 in his last 27 games after compiling a .292/.333/.407 slash line in his previous 27.
  6. With a combined opponents' batting average of .151, the White Sox's Alex Colome and Aaron Bummer make up the second-stingiest bullpen duo in baseball among pitchers with at least 25 appearances.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 7/15/2019 thru 7/18/2019

It's the middle of summer so heat can be expected, especially with a 12:15 start. But Thursday's expected game-time temperature of 98 degrees, with a heat index approaching 110 degrees, will put a strain on players from both the visiting Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning through Saturday afternoon. "Dangerously high temperatures and humidity could quickly cause heat stress or heat stroke if precautions are not taken," the official warning stated. "The very young, the elderly, those without air conditioning, and those participating in strenuous outdoor activities will be the most susceptible."

Both teams will be ready.

"Heat's a factor for both teams," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. "You watch how they're doing. Both clubs do everything they can. They have that ammonia ice water; we used to use the same thing. Keep everybody hydrated; keep them cool.

"Obviously it can affect their bodies. What we read in terms of how they're going about their business tells us a lot. We'll try to be mindful of it. The heat index is going to be a little hot, but we'll deal with it, just like everybody else."

The only thing hotter than the weather is the post-All Star Game Royals. They're 5-1 following Wednesday's 7-5 victory, the third straight victory over the White Sox.

A big burden will fall on the starting pitchers, Brad Keller for Kansas City and Ross Detwiler for the White Sox. Dylan Covey originally was scheduled to start for Chicago, but he was used in relief Tuesday.

"(Detwiler) will get the go, and then we will continue to make adjustments as we move forward," Renteria said. "(Covey) is the one we can use in different places. He might be the one that picks up Det tomorrow. We'll see how it goes. Right now, we're being flexible, creative, and trying to maximize all our guys. Hopefully we do it in a good way."

Detwiler (1-0, 5.02 ERA) is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in two career starts against Kansas City. He has not faced the Royals since Sept. 2016.

Keller (5-9, 4.25 ERA) matched his career high with eight innings (the fourth time he's done it) on Saturday vs. Detroit. He scattered one run on four hits, striking out seven and walking none. He's now unbeaten in his last four starts and has allowed one run or fewer in four of his last six, dating back to June 14.

"We were going through some mechanical stuff," he said of an in-game conversation with pitching coach Cal Eldred. "Today was probably the best I felt as far as that. Once you're in your delivery, it's a lot easier to pump strikes like that. It felt good today."

Keller will face the White Sox for the fifth time this season, earning a 1-2 record and 2.77 ERA against Chicago. He's 3-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 11 games (eight starts) lifetime vs. the White Sox, with 38 strikeouts, his most wins and strikeouts against a single opponent.

He has done well against all AL Central opponents. He's 3-3 with a 2.38 ERA (18 earned runs in 68 innings pitched) in 11 starts vs. the division this season, the second-lowest ERA against the division this year (min. 40.0 IP).

--Field Level Media

Updated July 18, 2019

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