The Chicago White Sox will try to build upon their six-game winning streak when they welcome the Kansas City Royals for a day-night doubleheader Friday.
Chicago has won 16 of its past 21 games to grab the best record in the major leagues. The White Sox are coming off their first three-game sweep over the Minnesota Twins since 2016, and the mood was bright in the clubhouse.
“It’s definitely a huge confidence builder for us — lets us know we have to continue to keep pushing,” Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson said. “We know it’s a long season. Definitely getting off to a great start helps. We have to keep pushing and rallying around each other and keep coming up with huge hits.”
Meanwhile, Kansas City is looking for a reason to smile as it spirals in the opposite direction. Following a 4-3 defeat to the host Detroit Tigers on Thursday, the Royals have lost 11 games in a row, spoiling a strong showing in April. Kansas City is looking to avoid its first 12-game losing streak since April 11-24, 2012.
“It’s impossible to deny the way you feel when you have some compounding losses here,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “But the expectation — and the process — is the same. Let’s go out, give everything we got, doesn’t matter who we’re playing, what kind of streak we’re on. Doesn’t matter where we’re playing. Play the game the right way.
“We were missing one piece (Thursday), which was the big hit. And that’s how it’s been here for a while. One piece is missing and (the result) ends up going in the wrong column.”
In Game 1 of the doubleheader, which is a makeup game for an April 10 postponement, White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (2-3, 4.54 ERA) will go up against Royals right-hander Brad Keller (2-4, 7.31).
Giolito has dominated the Royals in 14 career starts, posting an 8-2 record with a 2.81 ERA.
Keller also has fared well against the White Sox in 14 games (11 starts), going 4-5 with a 3.70 ERA.
In Game 2 of the doubleheader, White Sox right-hander Michael Kopech (2-0, 1.61) will make his third start of the season and his first since April 25. This will be his first career start against Kansas City, and he is 0-0 with a 2.08 ERA (one earned run in 4 1/3 innings) in two career relief appearances against the club.
The Royals will respond with right-hander Jakob Junis (1-2, 5.14), who hasn’t started since April 27. He has a 3.80 ERA in four starts but a 9.45 ERA in six relief appearances in 2021.
Junis is 3-2 with a 5.10 ERA in nine career appearances (eight starts) against the White Sox.
The availability of White Sox closer Liam Hendriks could be in question after he recorded a five-out save Thursday to finish off the sweep over Minnesota with a 4-2 win. Hendriks is excited about what he has joined in Chicago.
“We know what we’ve got in this clubhouse; we know the talent level we’ve got,” Hendriks said. “It’s just going out there and letting our abilities play. And this is what we expected to do, go out there and go on some lengthy winning streaks. And hopefully we can do something special and keep this going for the rest of the season.”
–Field Level Media