The Chicago White Sox will go for their first series sweep of the season when they host the struggling Kansas City Royals to conclude their three-game series on Sunday afternoon.
Running into a stingy White Sox pitching staff, the Royals have just one run over the first two games.
One of baseball’s most productive lineups in the first two weeks of May, the suddenly sluggish Kansas City offense has been shut out twice in the past five games, scoring just 10 runs over the five games. The Royals have been shut out eight times this season.
Kansas City is 2-6 during its current road trip, which ends Sunday. Royals’ batters have hit .185 (47-for-254) with 79 strikeouts, including a .184 mark (9-of-49) with runners in scoring position during the span.
Kansas City was hitless with runners in scoring position in the first two games of the series and struck out three times Sunday to end innings with a runner at third.
“We did a good job of putting some pressure on them,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro told the Kansas City Star. “We didn’t cash them in.”
Meanwhile, while winning four of its past five games, Chicago starters have limited hitters to a .208 average (25-for-120) with a 1.89 ERA (seven earned runs, 33 1/3 innings). They have completed at least six innings in seven straight starts.
Right-hander Lance Lynn (2-5, 6.66 ERA) is scheduled for the White Sox as they complete their nine-game homestand on Sunday. Chicago has a 5-3 record.
Kansas City’s Jackie Bradley Jr., Salvador Perez, Nick Pratto and Bobby Witt Jr. each own a pair of career home runs against Lynn.
Pratto and Michael Massey homered off Lynn in his most recent outing against the Royals, a 9-1 White Sox loss on May 10. Lynn is 8-4 with a 3.83 ERA over 15 career starts against the Royals.
Right-hander Brad Keller went to the injured list on Friday with right shoulder impingement syndrome and will miss the rematch with Lynn. With no scheduled starter announced, the club is expected to utilize a bullpen day.
Royals left-hander Amir Garrett was reinstated from the family medical emergency list prior to Saturday’s 5-1 loss, with right-hander Jackson Kowar optioned to Triple-A Omaha.
Kansas City’s bullpen has 214 strikeouts for the season.
Despite the winning homestand, Chicago’s offense continues to sputter, with the club managing more than three runs just three times in the past 10 games.
Since a 17-4 blowout of Cincinnati on May 7, the White Sox have 43 runs over 12 games — 3.6 runs per game — with more than five runs only twice during that span.
Chicago lacks a home run over the past three games and has just two extra-base hits in the first two games against Kansas City.
Andrew Vaughn’s 31 RBIs and Luis Robert Jr.’s 12 homers lead the offense, but, of late, the most productive bat in the White Sox lineup belongs to Jake Burger, who owns a six-game hitting streak while batting .500 (11-for-22) with nine RBIs.
“For me, it’s just controlling everything and slowing the game down,” Burger said.
Burger’s three-run double in the sixth broke open a close game during Saturday’s victory.
“It’s a one-run game and you’ve got to have some extra focus,” Burger said. “Fortunately, I got the right pitch and drove the ball.”
With a five-game hitting streak, teammate Yoan Moncada is hitting .318, and Andrew Benintendi has a seven-game hitting streak.
–Field Level Media
— Field Level Media
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