It’s all a matter of perspective.
A significant three games-to-one series victory by the Royals or a series split awaits Kansas City and the White Sox as the Central Division rivals conclude a four-game set Sunday in Chicago.
The Royals handed Carlos Rodon his first loss of the season Saturday night with a 5-1 victory. They got four runs off Rodon in the first three innings — two more earned runs than Rodon had allowed this season.
The White Sox will hand the ball to Dylan Cease (2-0, 2.80 ERA) Sunday. He will face fellow right-hander Brady Singer (1-3, 4.18) of the Royals.
The Royals came into the series on an 11-game losing streak, so it’s fair to say they would have been delighted by a split before the series started. That’s not the case now after splitting a doubleheader on Friday and Saturday’s convincing win.
The Royals’ task won’t be easy. Cease hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his seven starts. He received a no-decision in his most recent start on Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins after allowing three runs on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in five innings.
He had gone 14 innings without allowing a run, including a seven-inning shutout in the second game of a doubleheader against Detroit. That streak was snapped in the second inning.
“As soon as he got through the fifth, I thought we had a great chance to win,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said of Cease’s start against the Tigers. “He deserves a huge pat on the back.
“After that rough second, he showed so much composure and toughness. That’s the first place we won the game, because he held that game and got himself back together and competed his butt off. We had a bunch of guys help.”
He is 2-1 with a 3.81 ERA in five career starts against the Royals.
Singer has pitched better than his stats. He’s received just six runs of support in 32 1/3 innings this season, including no support in five of his seven starts. He’s given up one earned run in two of his three losses.
In his most recent start on Tuesday in Detroit, Singer was charged with four runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Against the Tigers, he allowed the first five batters to reach in the fourth, yielding a triple and a walk, followed by three straight RBI singles before a sacrifice fly marked the first out of the inning while driving in the fourth run.
He has largely avoided the extra-base hit, as 26 of the 30 hits he has allowed this year have been singles (86.7 percent). But that didn’t make him any happier with his start in Detroit.
“Kind of unlucky, but they put balls where guys weren’t,” Singer said after the game. “Definitely tough, definitely annoying, but you just keep on going.”
Singer is 0-1 in two career starts against the White Sox with a 6.75 ERA.
–Field Level Media