After splitting the first two games of their three-game series, the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox will play the rubber match on Thursday night. At home, the White Sox are heavy favorites with a moneyline of -200 compared to Kansas City’s moneyline of +170. The game also has an over/under of 9.5 runs.
Despite Wednesday’s 9-1 loss, the White Sox are more or less on cruise control at this point in the season. They hold a 9.5-game lead over the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central, with the Indians currently under .500. However, the White Sox are just 5-7 in their last 12 games and lost three out of four to the Royals last week.
As for the Royals, they’ve experienced both peaks and valleys this year, although the valleys have lasted much longer than the peaks. Wednesday’s win snapped a four-game losing streak, bringing them 16 games behind Chicago. On the other hand, the Royals were 9-3 following the all-star break before losing four in a row, so they’re a winning team since the break.
Another New Guy
Kansas City’s rotation has been problematic all season, and the Royals will send another young arm to the mound on Thursday in Daniel Lynch. The lefty was the 34th overall pick in the 2018 draft but owns a 6.95 ERA over his first five big league starts. However, after getting recalled from the minors in late July, Lynch has allowed just three runs over 14 innings of work.
He’ll try to keep it going against a Chicago lineup that’s had wild swings lately. The White Sox have been held to two runs or less in four of their last seven games but have averaged eight runs per game during the other three games during that stretch. Tim Anderson has come back around, but the other key figures in Chicago’s lineup have continued their post-all-star-break slumps, most notably Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada.
Dallas Keuchel will get the ball for the White Sox in Thursday’s rubber match. The veteran lefty is 7-4 with a 4.51 ERA this season, making him the weak link in a strong Chicago rotation. While those numbers are solid overall, Kuechel could be starting to fade, going 1-2 with a 6.26 ERA over his five starts in July.
Meanwhile, the Royals are hoping to wake up offensively after scoring nine runs on Wednesday. Kansas City’s lineup produced just two runs in the team’s previous three games, so it’s been a struggle lately. Salvador Perez is once again carrying the torch for the Royals, but he’s not getting much help with Andrew Benintendi and Carlos Santana both going cold over the past week.
There’s no question that the White Sox should be favorites in this game. But given Keuchel’s recent struggles and some unconvincing performances from the offense lately, there’s a lot of risks and little reward in Chicago’s -200 moneyline. With the Royals playing better since the break, bet on Kansas City as underdogs on Thursday.
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