These two teams have really fallen flat this year.
The Royals and White Sox have both had a hugely disappointing 2023 season. The two teams have split their first ten games, and this will be the last chance they get to face each other, determining who wins the season series.
The White Sox are in absolute freefall, going 19-40 since the start of July, worse than every team except the Rockies. The Royals haven’t been much better over that time, and they currently have the worst overall record in baseball.
Kansas City Royals (44-100) vs. Chicago White Sox (55-88) at Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago, IL
Royals: 4.03 runs scored/game (27th in MLB), 5.33 runs allowed/game (28th)
White Sox: 4.08 runs scored/game (26th in MLB), 5.01 runs allowed/game (26th)
The White Sox offense has been a one-man wrecking crew, with Luis Robert Jr. enjoying a career-best season with the 14th-best wRC+ among all qualified hitters. Yoán Moncada is coming around after an awful first half, hitting .347/.386/.590 over his last 27 games. On the flip side, Andrew Benintendi has been a free agent bust this year, posting one of the lowest slugging percentage and ISO in the league and Tim Anderson has the worst wRC+ among all qualified hitters in baseball.
The White Sox have the lowest walk rate in baseball, and the ninth-highest strikeout rate. They have the second-worst Defensive Runs Saved at -48, with Anderson dragging the numbers down. They have also gotten a surprisingly poor season from Benintendi, a former Gold Glover, who is among the worst players in Outs Above Average.
Dylan Cease gave up five runs in 5 1⁄3 innings against the Royals in a no decision last week. He has a 6.35 ERA in ten starts since the All-Star break with a 12.8 percent walk rate. His fastball velocity has been down since his Cy Young-contending season last year and it grades as one of the least effective fastballs in baseball.
Touki Toussant gave up just two runs and two hits over six innings last week against the Royals, his longest MLB start since 2021. Toussant is a groundball pitcher who struggles with control, throwing a curve and sinker, to go with a four-seamer and splitter.
Mike Clevinger has allowed opponents to hit just .230/.293/.339 against him in his last eight starts since returning from a bicep injury, but he went unclaimed when the White Sox placed him on waivers a few weeks ago. His fastball is back up after last year’s decline when he was returning from Tommy John surgery. He is 9-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 15 career games against the Royals.
White Sox relievers collectively have a 4.83 ERA, sixth-worst in baseball, with the third-highest home run rate and sixth-highest walk rate. They traded Kendall Graveman, Reynaldo Lopez, and Keynan Middleton away mid-season, leaving them to rely on a lot of unproven talent. Aaron Bummer has the largest disparity between ERA and FIP than any other pitcher with at least 40 innings pitched. Michael Kopech has the sixth-worst walk rate in baseball. Gregory Santos has the seventh-best home run rate.
The Royals took two out of three from the White Sox in Kansas City last week, but the two teams are pretty equal in their ineptitude this year. The White Sox may have a slight edge in starting pitching matchups, but this will likely come down to which shaky bullpen has a bigger blow up late in the game.