At Least There Won't Be Attendance Shaming - Game Preview & Lineups - 4/4

After a season of losing to pretty much any team that bothered to show up with 9 players, the Royals no longer have any sort of perceived hold on the White Sox. They beat them same as everybody else, at about the same rate to boot. Shame for Kansas City, since 2013 was supposed to be the year they got off the list of baseball’s most unsuccessful franchises of the last quarter century. Today starts a new ledger, with the Sox riding high on a series victory against a Twins team that gives them no real gauge of their overall value, while the Royals lost a couple of heartbreakers to the Tigers before losing the privilege of a series finale to weather.

The soaking away of that finale also cost the rest of us the debut of the lauded Yordano Ventura. Rather than pushing him back, the White Sox get a look at old nemesis Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie failed to repeat the success he had upon initially arriving in KC under his new contract in 2013, though he managed not to crash and burn entirely. As his salary escalates, the Royals are in serious need of his services if they plan on making a splash any time soon.  Even against the White Sox in 2013 he was nothing extraordinary, in 30+ innings he held a 4.15 ERA, perhaps comforting himself with a few extra strikeouts to speak of.

The White Sox send another one of their wild cards to the mound in Erik Johnson. With 5 starts last season, Johnson impressed the people that matter enough to get himself a crack at the rotation. His success showed by way of final results, an ERA+ of 133, but his peripheral numbers show he’s not missing many bats and he’s not even throwing strikes often enough to keep from handing out free passes with a walk rate at 8.6%. On the plus side, Johnson is young, just 24, and his MiLB numbers suggest that striking out batters is a skill that he does in fact possess. If he can turn some of his walks into K’s, the number 4 spot in the White Sox rotation will look sharp.

Some pre-game bookkeeping: Nate Jones has been placed on the 15-day DL with what is being called a strained left hip muscle. Jake Petricka is coming up to take his roster spot.

The Jose Abreu love fest continues, 2-for-4 with a double and a triple in yesterday’s loss to the Twins. Abreu wasn’t much of a candidate to hit a triple before a logged a homerun, but neither was Frank Thomas and he managed the same. I’m not saying Jose Abreu is Frank Thomas, but I am saying that Jose Abreu is looking great and we have yet to see what is said to be his greatest strength.

It may be possible that we have to wait until the 2nd inning to watch Jose hit today. Conor Gillaspie's return to the lineup also sees his return to the 3 spot in the lineup. I'm guessing Robin Ventura puts much value in the R/L/R lineup construction.

Today’s Lineup:

  1. Eaton – CF
  2. Semien – 2B
  3. Gillaspie - 3B
  4. Abreu – 1B
  5. Dunn – DH
  6. Avisail – RF
  7. De Aza – LF
  8. Ramirez – SS
  9. Flowers – C

Royals Lineup:

  1. Nori Aoki – RF
  2. Omar Infante – 2B
  3. Eric Hosmer – 1B
  4. Billy Butler – DH
  5. Alex Gordon – LF
  6. Salvador Perez – C
  7. Mike Moustakas – 3B
  8. Lorenzo Cain – CF
  9. Alcides Escobar - SS

Where to Watch:

Today’s game will be broadcast on CSN and Fox Sports KC. 3:10 Central start time.