The Chicago White Sox were really up against it in Milwaukee. They haven’t been a bad offense against righties by any means, but you don’t often run into a trio like Freddy Peralta, Corbin Burnes, and Brandon Woodruff. The White Sox only scored five runs in the series, but managed to win on Sunday Night Baseball with a big effort from Lance Lynn.
The White Sox sure look to be in a better spot on Monday night. They’ll take on a Royals team that sits 15 games below .500 and a lefty with an ERA north of 5 in Mike Minor. It seems like the quintessential spot to back the White Sox, right? They are 19-8 against left-handed starters. They are 38-12 against teams with losing records. Is all of that enough to take a piece of Chicago?
The Royals turned in one of the more surprising series results of the season by sweeping the Tigers this past week. Detroit was undefeated since the All-Star Break, having swept Minnesota and Texas, but then the Royals played the bully role and brought the Tigers back down a couple of pegs. Kansas City has won five in a row, including a couple of wins over the aforementioned Brewers.
There hasn’t been a whole lot of positivity from the betting markets regarding Dallas Keuchel. In fact, there have been a lot of games in which Keuchel has been bet against rather sharply. That has not happened here today, at least not to this point. Keuchel has a 4.22 ERA with a 5.51 xERA and a 4.71 FIP.
I can understand why bettors are skeptical of Keuchel. He has a really low strikeout rate, has allowed a bit of hard contact, and just doesn’t seem to fit the mold of a pitcher in 2021. However, I think he is generally underappreciated. Teams don’t really manufacture runs the way that they used to. An extreme ground ball guy like Keuchel can survive. I even talked on last week’s podcast about how hitters are trying to elevate more. I think that can help Keuchel as a high GB% dude.
Keuchel has a 3.80 ERA with a 4.44 FIP since the first MLB memo, even though he allowed seven runs to the Tigers three starts ago. He is a high-variance dude because of all the balls in play, but the Royals rank 22nd in wOBA overall and 22nd in wOBA against lefties.
I do think this line ultimately moves Kansas City’s way a little bit. Mike Minor is a positive regression candidate with a 5.45 ERA and a 4.21 FIP. He has a 63.4% LOB% that has been the worst part of his season. He has a .282 wOBA with the bases empty and a .406 wOBA with men on base. He’s allowed nine of his 17 homers with men on. That’ll hurt and hurt in a hurry.
It may get better for him and it could very well happen here. If it does, I’ll tip my cap to him and move on. All I know is that the White Sox are second in OBP this season. Even with all of their injuries over the last 30 days, they still rank fourth in OBP. If Minor is having issues from the stretch and issues with men on base, it looks like he’ll have to deal with a lot of that with this White Sox offense, especially one that has been at or near the top of the league against lefties.
The White Sox have had a lot of relief issues lately, but so have the Royals. My thought process here is that the White Sox will have the lead and will be able to use their best relievers.
I’ll be on the White Sox here. This is the type of situation that they have done very well with this season against a bad team and a left-handed starter.