Royals vs. White Sox Odds, Preview, Prediction: Kansas City Looks to Slow Down South Siders’ Lineup (May 15)

Royals vs. White Sox Odds, Preview, Prediction: Kansas City Looks to Slow Down South Siders’ Lineup (May 15) article feature image
Credit:

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images. Pictured: White Sox outfielders Adam Eaton and Andrew Vaughn.

  • The Royals and White Sox meet on Saturday in the third of a four-game set in Chicago.
  • The two teams split a doubleheader on Friday, with KC winning Game 1 and Chicago winning the nightcap.
  • Where is the betting value in Saturday's contest? Tanner McGrath breaks it down below.

Royals vs. White Sox Odds

Royals Odds +169
White Sox Odds -184
Over/Under 8 (-118 / +100)
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Saturday morning and via PointsBet.

After an 11-game losing streak, the Royals finally won a game on Friday.

Kansas City then proceeded to lose directly after. In the second game of this Royals-White Sox doubleheader, Michael Kopech and the White Sox pulled off a 3-1 victory.

The White Sox have the Royals’ ticket. After winning the 2020 season series 9-1, Chicago is leading the 2021 season series 5-2 with a run differential of +20.

With two lefty starting pitchers today, the White Sox again have the obvious advantage in this matchup. I believe I’ve found value in their lineup today.

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Royals’ Bats Should Wake Up Soon

Even after this disastrous run of play, the Royals are still only four games under .500 and just 4.5 games back in the wild card race. There is plenty of baseball left to be played.

It’s obvious that the Royals should start winning games with some regularity again soon. That should start with the help of the lineup.

Over the past seven days, the Royals are batting just .212 with a .620 OPS. Their .281 wOBA and 79 wRC+ both rank 25th in baseball during that stretch. Since the ridiculous losing streak started, the Royals are scoring just under three runs per game, including being shutout twice in that stretch.

Two guys in particular that have been terrible: Jorge Soler and Hunter Dozier, as Soler is batting just .202 and Dozier is sporting an OPS+ of 49. Soler is working on a three-game hitting streak, which is good to see. Meanwhile, Dozier was placed on the IL following his scary collision with José Abreu in Game 1 on Friday.

Starting pitcher: Mike Minor (LHP)

Given how long he’s been around and how many clubs he’s pitched for, it’s hard to believe Minor is just 33-years-old.

However, it does look like Minor’s prime is over. Since his All-Star season in 2019, Minor has posted an ERA around 5.50 and a WHIP around. 1.30. His fastball velocity is down as well, as he was averaging 92.5 mph on the pitch in 2019, but just 91.6 now.

He’s also been battling this year. He has yet to post a high-quality start, and he hasn’t pitched further than 5 2/3 innings in a start since his debut on April 3.

His best outing this season was against these White Sox back on April 11. Minor threw four innings while allowing just one run on four hits while striking out three. It’s the only time during the last two seasons that the White Sox have lost when facing a left-handed starting pitcher.

White Sox are Clicking Right Now in Every Regard

As of Saturday morning, the White Sox have the best record in baseball.

Additionally, they’ve won eight of their last 10 games and have accumulated the best run differential of any team so far this season at +64. The lineup has been outstanding, the bullpen has been solid and the rotation features some All-Star candidates.

After Friday’s collision, Abreu is day-to-day with a facial contusion, laceration and bruised knee, but it looks like no concussion. While Dozier has been struggling and won’t be missed, Abreu was just starting to play really well. Over his past seven games, Abreu was batting .391 with a 1.203 OPS and had 10 RBI.

But the White Sox should be fine during Abreu’s short absence. The lineup has posted a .883 OPS, a .380 wOBA and a 150 wRC+ over the past seven days, all stats that pace the league during that stretch.

Starting pitcher: Carlos Rodón (LHP)

I don’t know what else you can say about Rodón that hasn’t been said. This season, Rodón has:

  • A 5-0 record
  • A 0.58 ERA
  • A .677 WHIP
  • 12 hits over 31 innings pitched
  • 44 strikeouts to just 9 walks
  • A no-hitter

That’s an impressive Cy Young résumé.

A big thing I’ve noticed in Rodón’s game is that he’s throwing his fastball more frequently than ever.

And the velocity on his fastball is up two ticks, too, as it’s now topping 95 mph. With the added velocity, he’s allowing just a .155 wOBA on the fastball and his whiff rate is up almost 20% from last season (33.1% in 2021, 14.3% in 2020). Perhaps most impressive, despite the added fastball speed, the average exit velocity on the pitch is actually down from last season.

However, I’m not ready to herald Rodón as one of the best pitchers in baseball yet. His 93% strand rate is unsustainable and his .180 BABIP should regress to league average (around .300). Despite his absurdly low ERA, his xFIP is at 2.86, and he should see some regression as the season progresses.

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Royals-White Sox Pick

The White Sox are the pick in this game. However, at close to -200 favorites, I don’t think there’s value there.

Instead, the White Sox team total over is the best bet in this matchup.

As is well known around the league, the White Sox are monsters against left-handed pitching. They’ve been even better against that side recently, as the lineup has posted a 1.015 OPS and a 182 wRC+ against southpaws over the past two weeks.

So theoretically, they should mash Minor today. However, Minor did hold the White Sox to just one run last time out and seems like he could pitch pretty well again. Well, Minor also walked three batters and only managed four measly innings. I don’t expect Minor to pitch deep into this game and have reasons to believe the Royals’ bullpen is due for some regression.

Over the past seven days, the Royals are eighth in bullpen FIP (2.98) and seventh in batting average (.192). However, also during that same stretch, the Royals are 19th in xFIP (4.51) and fourth in walk rate (14.7%). Not to mention, the Kansas City relievers have pitched the most innings of any team during that stretch (31 2/3).

I believe that even if Minor has a quality outing — which is a big “if” — he won’t last more than four or five innings. The Royals will then have to rely on their exhausted and vulnerable bullpen to hold the hottest offense in baseball at bay. I like the White Sox to score a lot today.

Pick: White Sox Team Total Over 4.5 runs (-105)

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