The formula worked Friday night, so why not try it again on Saturday?
The Chicago White Sox will send a veteran left-hander to the mound against a Kansas City Royals youngster in the second game of a three-game series Saturday after taking the first game 3-2 behind Dallas Keuchel.
Manager Rick Renteria will rely on lefty Gio Gonzalez while Kansas City will counter with right-hander Ronald Bolanos, a wily veteran himself compared to Kris Bubic, who made his first appearance above Class-A ball Friday night for KC.
Gonzalez will be making his 325th start Saturday. He has a 130-99 career record, though he took an ugly no-decision in his first start in 2020. He gave up six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in a 14-2 loss to Minnesota last Sunday. He took over in that game for starter Reynaldo Lopez, who left his first start with shoulder inflammation. Gonzalez picked up Lopez’s spot in the rotation.
The White Sox entered the Kansas City series with an ERA over 9.00 among their starters, worst in the majors. Keuchel has earned two of the team’s three wins so far this season. He’s been the club’s only effective starter. Lucas Giolito has the second-best ERA among White Sox starters at 6.52.
Gonzalez will be making his 10th start against the Royals, with his last appearance coming back in 2016, and he’s 4-3 with a 6.50 ERA.
Bolanos will be making his fifth career start and second for the Royals after being traded for lefty Tim Hill during the summer training camp. He took the loss July 26 against the Indians despite allowing just two unearned runs in two innings. His manager was impressed.
“He was throwing with confidence,” Mike Matheny said after his first game. “His stuff was right. He’s got major league weapons. I see him being a part of what we’re doing moving forward.”
Bolanos, who will be making his first career appearance against the White Sox, didn’t expect to pitch more than two innings the first time out, though he seemed to like the starting role.
“The goal is to continue to build,” Bolanos said through interpreter Luis Perez. “I want to get the chance to start again.”
With two veteran starters yet to see the field this summer because of COVID-19, and left-hander Mike Montgomery going on the injured list after his first start, Matheny needs Bolanos to fill a huge hole.
The Royals also will be trying to get a sluggish offense started. They’re hitting .226, right in the middle of MLB’s team rankings. But with the third fewest walks in the majors, they’re next to last in on-base percentage at .274. They’re also in the bottom third in OPS.
The White Sox don’t have that problem. They’re fifth in hitting (.255), sixth in home runs (10), and eighth in OPS (.765). Their offense may take a hit Saturday. Shortstop Tim Anderson had to come out of Friday’s game with right hip stiffness. He’s hitting .296 with an .840 OPS.
He was replaced by Leury Garcia, who had a hit in his only at-bat.
“Right now he’s listed day-to-day,” Renteria said. “We’ll re-evaluate him tomorrow to see where he’s at. He slipped a little bit on the grass behind second. Right now it’s just hip soreness. We’ll evaluate him and know more.”
–Field Level Media