Indianapolis Star
Major League Baseball
Preview
Kansas City at Chi. White Sox
When: 2:10 PM ET, Sunday, July 15, 2018
Where: Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago, Illinois

The Kansas City Royals are guaranteed to head into the All-Star break with the worst record in the American League Central but have a chance to finish out the first half with rare back-to-back wins. The Royals will try to secure consecutive victories for the first time since May 29-30 when they visit the Chicago White Sox for the finale of a three-game series on Sunday.

Kansas City ensured that it would not drop below the Baltimore Orioles (27-69) in the race to avoid the worst record in baseball by winning for the second time in 14 games with a 5-0 triumph on Saturday. The Royals (26-67) are searching for positives in their disappointing first half and may have found one in right fielder Jorge Bonifacio, who belted a home run and added a triple Saturday to give himself six extra-base hits during a seven-game hitting streak. The White Sox, who took the series opener 9-6 on Friday, fell for the seventh time in the last nine games with Saturday's setback and head west for seven games against Seattle and the Los Angeles Angels after the break. Chicago will send Lucas Giolito to the mound on Sunday while Kansas City counters with fellow right-hander Burch Smith.

TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, FS Kansas City, NBCS Chicago

PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Burch Smith (0-0, 5.83 ERA) vs. White Sox RH Lucas Giolito (5-8, 6.59)

Smith will start but be limited to 50 to 60 pitches as Kansas City uses a bullpen day to cover for a rotation that is currently missing Ian Kennedy (oblique) and Jakob Junis (back). The native Texan last pitched at Minnesota on Wednesday and was knocked around for four runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. That effort snapped a string of five straight scoreless appearances for the 28-year-old, who surrendered a combined two runs in 2 2/3 innings during two previous appearances against Chicago.

Giolito is ready to put an inconsistent first half behind him by going into the break with back-to-back solid outings. The 23-year-old posted quality starts in two of his last three turns, including a 7 1/3-inning effort at Houston last Sunday in which he held the defending champions to two runs on three hits and three walks. Giolito made two starts against Kansas City in the first month of the season and surrendered a combined five runs on 10 hits and six walks in 11 2/3 innings while going 1-0.

WALK-OFFS

1. White Sox 2B Yoan Moncada (knee) left Saturday's game and is day-to-day.

2. Royals 2B Whit Merrifield reached base safely in each of his last 15 contests.

3. Chicago DH Matt Davidson is 2-for-24 over his last seven games.

PREDICTION: White Sox 10, Royals 5
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Kansas City 27-67 W1 11-35 16-32 3-15 14-20 7-26 3-6
Chi. White Sox 32-62 L1 18-29 14-33 6-7 14-26 7-17 5-12
Last Meeting
Kansas City Chi. White Sox
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/14/18 KC 5 CHW 0 .257 2 .743 .182 0 .432
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Kansas City S. Perez .367 11 .908
Chi. White Sox L. Garcia .448 13 1.208
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Kansas City C. Cuthbert 2 2 6
Chi. White Sox M. Davidson 7 9 12
Pitching ERA Avg K
Kansas City 5.93 .257 66
Chi. White Sox 3.44 .287 54
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Kansas City W. Merrifield .307 108 .809
Chi. White Sox Y. Sanchez .256 89 .714
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Kansas City M. Moustakas 19 42 58
Chi. White Sox M. Davidson 14 32 38
Pitching ERA Avg K
Kansas City 5.34 .239 660
Chi. White Sox 4.97 .243 701