The Kansas City Royals (3-2, 1-1 away) and the Chicago White Sox (3-4, 0-0 home) begin a three-game series between two American League Central foes. Thursday’s contest will be the home-opener for the White Sox, who spent the first week of play on the West Coast.
Thursday’s first pitch is at 4:10 p.m. EST at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, IL. According to oddsmakers, the White Sox are favored (-160), and the run total is 8.5.
What to Know – Kansas City Royals
Kansas City opened the 2021 season, winning two of three against the Texas Rangers, followed by a two-game series split with the Cleveland Indians. The Royals are 1-1 in road contests this season.
Making his second start of the spring is right-hander Brad Keller. Keller would like to erase his first outing from memory after lasting only 1.1 innings and allowing six earned runs on nine hits and two walks.
The Royals’ offense has been a nightmare for opposing pitchers through the first five games of the season. Kansas City is batting .307 as a team, with three starters hitting .400 or better.
Outfielder Whit Merrifield has lead the charge, hitting .400 (8-of-20) with a team-high three home runs and nine runs driven in. Catcher Salvador Perez and outfielder Michael A. Taylor have two home runs apiece, while second basemen Nicky Lopez leads the Royals with a .438 (7-of-16) batting average.
Kansas City’s bullpen is off to a solid start for 2021. Jesse Hahn and Wade Davis have one save apiece, while presumed closer Greg Holland has seen action in two games, throwing 1.0 inning and allowing two runs.
What to Know – Chicago White Sox
The White Sox dropped two of three to the Los Angeles Angels to open the season but regrouped to take a pair of victories at Seattle during a midweek test. Chicago returns home for a seven-game homestand.
Right-hander Lance Lynn returns to the mound for his second start of the season. Lynn was brilliant in his debut, firing 4.2 innings, scattering six hits, two walks, no runs, and striking out six.
Catcher Yermin Mercedes has come out of nowhere and erupted with a .565 (13-of-23) average in five games played. Mercedes became the first player in the MLB to start a season with eight straight hits.
The rest of the White Sox lineup is off to a sluggish start, with a .252 team batting average. First baseman Jose Abreu leads the team with a pair of home runs and nine RBI.
Michael Kopech is a weapon out of the bullpen, tossing 4.0 innings with eight strikeouts and one hit allowed in relief. Chicago’s pitching staff sports a 3.86 ERA as a whole.
The Pick is In
Lynn versus the Royals’ offense is going to be an excellent matchup this early in the year. Kansas City will need Keller to avoid another meltdown, especially against a lineup like the White Sox hame.
These two teams will see each other a lot this summer, and given the strengths of both squads, there should be some fireworks between these two. Behind Lynn’s arm and the offense, the White Sox take the opener, 7-4.
The Pick: Chicago White Sox -1.5