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With their 8-2 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday, the White Sox matched their 2019 win total against Kansas City with nine.
That doesn’t sound all that impressive until realizing the teams only played 10 times this year.
The White Sox went 9-1 this year against the Royals, putting a dent in a series record that hadn’t been particularly kind to the South Siders over the last decade.
It should also put to rest the idea of Kansas City as a graveyard for White Sox hopes. “Royals” rhymes with “spoils,” and the noun and verb combined to ruin previous seasons on the South Side. In 2012, the White Sox sputtered to a 6-12 record against a 90-loss KC team that dropped 13 of 18 games against Detroit. That’s a seven-game difference, and the Tigers only won the Central by three games that year.
They also had a habit of humiliating the Robin Ventura teams, peaking with the ninth-inning collapse on May 28, 2016, a date I’ll always remember for putting in my air conditioner.
Every win against any major league team counts the same, so there’s no knocking the White Sox’s bumslaying ways. And regarding this particular opponent, there’s no shame or guilt in burying the Royals until they’re touching the Earth’s core. However the AL Central turns out, the White Sox won’t have any Royal remorse. Minnesota went 5-5 against KC, while the Indians are 4-2 with four to play.
- July 31: White Sox 3, Royals 2
- Aug. 1: White Sox 11, Royals 5
- Aug. 2: White Sox 9, Royals 2
- Aug. 28: White Sox 6, Royals 5
- Aug. 29: Royals 9, White Sox 6
- Aug. 30: White Sox 5, Royals 2 (10 innings)
- Sept. 3: White Sox 11, Royals 6
- Sept. 4: White Sox 7, Royals 4
- Sept. 5: White Sox 5, Royals 3
- Sept. 6: White Sox 8, Royals 2
*Tim Anderson: Went 15-for-35 with a homer and four doubles, good for a .429/.447/.629 line. The only regret is that he didn’t get a chance to face Brad Keller.
*Luis Robert: Homered four times and drew six walks against the Royals in 10 games, boosting the latter two columns in his .300/.404/.650 line. One of those homers was a walk-off in extra innings, but he also managed to clinch a game with a tremendous diving catch in center.
*Edwin Encarnación hit .259/.364/.593 with three homers over seven games against the Royals, who are keeping his season afloat. He’s hitting .152/.227/.392 against everybody else, which is a great ISO if nothing else.
*Alex Gordon went 9-for-26 with two homers, a double and six walks in eight games against the White Sox. He’s replacement-level on the season, but the Sox didn’t see that guy, aside from a couple of fly balls a younger Gordon might have flagged down.
*Adalberto Mondesi, conversely, painted a very representative picture as to why Royals fans are so frustrated with him. He hit .211/.231/.253 with 13 strikeouts to a walk over 40 plate appearances, all of which are in the neighborhood of his 2020 rates and ratios. But he also looked worse than that in real time. He squared around for a couple of useless bunts, including one popped up with two outs and a runner on first with the Royals trailing by one. He was also caught stealing to start extra innings.
*Whit Merrifield was held in check, as he hit .182/.234/.386. Three homers made him feel dangerous, but he went just 1-for-18 over the final four-game series, and we hadn’t seen him so frustrated.
*Dallas Keuchel pitched up two wins in two starts, allowing just two runs and 10 baserunners over 10⅓ innings. It’s just a shame that his back issues prevented him from building on his five scoreless innings Sunday.
*Evan Marshall appeared in six of 10 games, and the Royals would have preferred seeing less of him. He allowed just a hit and a walk over 6⅓ innings while striking out nine.
*Zack Burdi should be able to improve upon his KC-specific ERA in 2021, because it’s at 135 right now.
*Josh Staumont looked unhittable … until the White Sox saw him on consecutive days. His average fastball velocity dropped from 99 to 97, the slider bounced or rolled, and the Sox tagged him for three runs. This appears to be a concern.
*Kris Bubic moves around the mound as though he’s wearing ill-fitting underwear and none of his pitches register as remarkable to the eye, but he threw strikes and pitched inside well to right-handed hitters, which allowed him to work deeper into each of his three starts against the White Sox. He has the makings of a Very AL Central pitcher for years to come.
*Slogs: Only one of the 10 games wrapped up in under three hours, and only by four minutes. The average White Sox-Royals game in 2020 lasted three hours and 28 minutes.
*Men on base: For all that’s been made of the White Sox’s reliance on the long ball, the White Sox only outhomered the Royals by one over the 10 games, 14-13. The White Sox just made more of theirs.
A 53-point gap in OBP will do that. The White Sox had a .374 OBP against Royals pitching, compared to a .321 OBP the other way.
*Luis Robert: One more time.
(Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire)