|4:15 PM PT5:15 PM MT6:15 PM CT7:15 PM ET19:15 ET23:15 GMT7:15 4:15 PM MST6:15 PM EST6:45 PM VEN3:15 UAE (+1)6:15 PM CT, March 31, 2018
Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri Attendance: 17,564
Royals in recovery mode after opening loss to White Sox
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals could not have had a better 2018 Opening Day beginning or a worse finish against the Chicago White Sox.
They led 4-0 before White Sox starter James Shields retired a batter. Lucas Duda, in his first Royals at-bat, scorched a three-run homer.
But in innings four through eight, the White Sox belted six home runs, three by Matt Davidson, to clobber the Royals 14-7.
Chapter two of the series and the season resumes Saturday night after the teams had Friday off.
Veteran right-hander Ian Kennedy will start for Kansas City. Chicago will counter with 23-year-old Lucas Giolito, a hard-throwing right-hander.
The two pitchers contrast greatly. The 33-year-old Kennedy has started at least 30 games for eight consecutive years. Only Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals (nine straight) and Jon Lester of the Chicago Cubs (10 straight) have longer streaks.
Giolito has 13 major league appearances and 11 starts. The 2012 first-round pick of the Washington Nationals has pitched 66 2/3 innings in the majors. Kennedy has logged nearly 1,600 big league innings with the New York Yankees, Arizona, San Diego and Kansas City.
Kennedy finished last season with a 5-13 record and a 5.38 ERA in 30 starts. Giolito went 3-3 with a 2.38 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP while holding opponents to a .190 batting average (31-for-163) in seven starts covering 45 1/3 innings last season after the White Sox called him up from Triple-A Charlotte.
Giolito was 1-0 with a no-decision in two starts against Kansas City last year. He held the Royals to one earned run in 6 1/3 innings in a Sept. 13 no-decision at Kauffman Stadium. He picked up a victory over the Royals in a Sept. 24 rematch at Guaranteed Rate Field, permitting one earned run in seven innings.
No current Royals player has more than six at-bats against Giolito. Alcides Escobar is 2-for-6 against him. Whit Merrifield is 0-for-5, Alex Gordon 1-for-6 and Mike Moustakas 0-for-6. Duda is 1-for-3 with a home run.
Giolito had an excellent spring training, going 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings and holding opponents to a .169 batting average in four starts.
Kennedy made four starts against the White Sox last year, going 0-2 with a 7.65 ERA, allowing 17 earned runs in 20 innings. Kansas City went 2-2 in those four starts.
Historically, Kennedy has not done well against Chicago. He is 2-7 with a 6.20 ERA in 17 starts and has surrendered 23 home runs, the most of any team. The White Sox also have 18 doubles and three triples against him for a .551 slugging percentage and a .908 OPS.
Kennedy hates to face White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, who is 9-for-19 (.474) with three home runs, a .947 slugging percentage and 1.421 OPS against him.
The White Sox and Royals will meet 19 times this season. The first seven are in Kansas City.
Chicago won the series 10-9 last year. The White Sox lead the all-time series with a 386-372 record. The Royals are 180-161 against the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.
Updated March 30, 2018