Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals Preview and Pick – Buehrle vs. Greinke

Chicago White Sox (53-37) PK, 8 at Kansas City Royals (40-52), 8 pm Eastern Thursday
by Zman of

The Chicago White Sox go in search of a sweep when they take on the Kansas City Royals in the finale of a three-game series Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Baseball bookmakers are listing this game, which matches Mark Buehrle (6-7, 3.91, 1.35 WHIP) against Zack Greinke (7-5, 3.62, 1.27 ), as a pick ’em, with a total of 8 1/2.

The White Sox have taken the first two games of this series in come-from-behind fashion by scores of 8-7 Tuesday and 7-6 Wednesday.

Chicago, winners of four straight games and 11 of their last 13, leads the 2nd-place Minnesota Twins by 3 1/2 games in the American League’s Central Division. The Royals, meanwhile, losers of nine of their last 12, sit in fourth place in the Central, 14 games back of the Sox.

The White Sox have won seven straight games over Kansas City, and have taken all five games from the Royals this season. The totals have gone 4-1 in this year’s meetings, as the games have averaged 12 total runs per. Last year, Chicago took 12 of 18 games from KC, while the totals went 6-9-3, as the games averaged 8.4 total runs.

The White Sox are 21-24 on the road this year, but 53-37 vs. the run line.

The Royals are 19-23 at home this season, 45-47 vs. the run line.

Over his last three starts, including a rough outing vs. Oakland last Friday, Buehrle has allowed five ER and 27 baserunners in 20 2/3 IP. The Sox are 8-10 in Buehrle’s starts this season, the totals also 8-10.

Buehrle, whose ERA is more than a run bigger on the road this year than at home, started three games vs. KC last year, giving up 10 ER on 24 baserunners in 18 1/3 IP. Chicago won all three of those games, with the totals going 1-1-1.

Over his last three starts, including a solid effort at Tampa last Saturday, Greinke has given up 10 ER and 25 baserunners in 17 IP. The Royals are 108 in Greinke’s starts this year, the totals 9-8.

Greinke, whose ERA is a full run-and-a-half better at home this year than on the road, started twice vs. the White Sox last year, and once this season (eight innings of shut-out ball), allowing 11 ER and 22 baserunners in 19 IP. The Royals lost two of those games, with the totals going 1-2.

On the offensive side of this match-up, Chicago ranks 13th in the majors this year in team BA at .262, 13th in team OBP at .334, 6th in team slugging at .439, and is averaging 4.9 runs per game.

KC ranks 8th in batting at .264, 26th in OBP at .317, 22nd in slugging at .389, and is averaging 4.2 RPG.

On the personnel front, Chicago placed closer Bobby Jenks on the DL Wednesday with a sore shoulder. But they just got 1B Paul Konerko back from the DL, although he took the golden sombrero in his second game back Wednesday night.

The Chicago bullpen has given up seven ER and 26 baserunners over its last five games, covering 18 1/3 IP.

The KC pen has allowed 10 ER and 24 baserunners over its last five games, covering 20 1/3 IP.

The totals are 39-50 in Sox games this year, and 44-46 in Royals games. But eight of KC’s last 10 games have gone over their totals, as Royals pitching has allowed 66 runs over that span. And the totals are 20-22 in games played at Kauffman Stadium this season, which are averaging 9.0 total runs per.

Zman’s Pick: The Sox have dominated KC as of late. I think that ends tonight with Greinke on the hill.