Sat May 15 6:52am ET
When you end an 11-game losing streak, it's a little greedy to expect to sweep a doubleheader, but that's what Kansas City was looking to do after taking the opener 6-2 over the Chicago White Sox on Friday. They fell short, losing 3-1 in the nightcap.
But Saturday's game is a chance to start a new winning streak for the Royals, and it will feature a pair of left-handed veterans. The Royals will look to Mike Minor (2-2, 5.75 ERA), and the White Sox will send Carlos Rodon (5-0, 0.58 ERA) to the mound in Chicago.
If the Royals hope to build on their success from the first game of Friday's doubleheader, they'll have to do it against one of the best pitchers in the American League in 2021 as they face Chicago in the third game of a four-game series Saturday night.
Rodon will be looking to keep on doing what he's been doing. He has not allowed more than one earned run in any of his five starts. He owns three quality starts, including a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians on April 14, when a hit batter was all that kept him from a perfect game.
"I don't think you can expect anybody to pitch that well," White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz said after Rodon's last start. "But I did expect him to have good results and keep us in games and give us the chance to win.
"He's been superb, and I'm hoping that this continues. He's doing all the right things in between [starts], getting his work done. He's feeling good. Is it realistic that he'll keep putting all these great numbers together? I hope so. But he's probably going to give up a run here and there at some point."
Minor will try to get his first quality start of the season. He has pitched six innings only once, against the Texas Rangers when he allowed four earned runs. He gave up five runs on just four hits in his most recent start, also against the White Sox. He struck out seven and walked two in the 9-3 loss last Sunday.
"The second inning is when they put him in a bad spot," Royals manager Mike Matheny said of Minor's outing. "He had a hit batsman and a walk and both of those scored. That put us on our heels. When you're struggling overall as a club those shutdown innings are important."
The White Sox still own the best record in the major leagues. Their six-game winning streak was snapped with the Royals' victory in the opening game.
The Royals feel like they let one slip away in Friday's second game.
"We were that close," Matheny said. "Any time we're within striking distance, we always believe in our club. We've got the kind of offense that can do it quick."
Matheny said there's not a perfect plan for turning things around, other than sticking with what allowed them to own the best record in baseball before the streak started.
"We put the ball in play with two strikes, and then we're all up in arms because it turns into a double-play rally killer," Matheny said. "There's this dance going on with all of this. You just stay consistent and continue doing the work that we believe is going to turn into results."
Minor will be looking for his first career win against the White Sox. He's 0-3 with a 3.90 ERA in nine games (four starts). Rodon is 3-3 with a 3.20 ERA in eight career starts.
--Field Level Media
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