|11:15 AM PT12:15 PM MT1:15 PM CT2:15 PM ET14:15 ET18:15 GMT2:15 11:15 AM MST1:15 PM EST1:45 PM VEN22:15 UAE1:15 PM CT, March 31, 2019
Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri Attendance: 12,669
Sunny skies forecast for White Sox-Royals finale
Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals
- The White Sox and Royals will face off on Opening Day for the second straight year, after the White Sox won last year's opener, 14-7. The Sox won the season series, 11-8, after winning each of the first five road games against the Royals.
- Chicago finished 2018 with a 62-100 record, third worst in MLB just ahead of Kansas City at 58-104 and Baltimore at 47-115. It was the White Sox's fifth-worst record in franchise history and worst since a 56-106 campaign in 1970.
- The Royals' 58-104 record in 2018 was tied for their second worst in franchise history, just ahead of the 2005 season (56-106). They finished the year on a positive note, going 20-14 over the last 34 games of the season, holding opponents to just 4.2 runs per game.
- Jose Abreu played a career-low 128 games in 2018 but hit 22 home runs, his fifth consecutive season with 20+ homers. He is one of just six active players to hit at least 20 home runs in each of his first five MLB seasons.
- Brad Keller started 20 games as a rookie last season after entering the starting rotation in late May. He allowed just seven home runs in 140.1 innings for a 0.45 HR/9 rate, second best in MLB behind Jacob deGrom (minimum 125.0 innings pitched).
- Whit Merrifield led MLB in stolen bases last season with 45, the most in a single season by a Royal since Johnny Damon in 2000 (46). He also lead MLB in hits with 192, becoming the seventh player in history to lead the league in both hits and stolen bases and the first AL player to do so since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001.
- Yankees pull OF Stanton from rehab stint
- White Sox turn triple play, beat Astros
- A's Davis to have MRI on hip; not on IL
- Montas pitches A's to sixth straight win
- Torres ups season HR total vs. O's to 10
Hoping that better weather will accompany the first pitch, the Chicago White Sox and the host Kansas City Royals wrap up their season-opening series Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.
Snow fell intermittently Saturday, after rain delayed the start of the first two games of the season. Saturday's game was delayed 30 minutes by rain and the first-pitch temperature was 38 degrees, with a wind chill of 28.
The forecast for Sunday is 51 and sunny, so a little nip in the air should be the only weather concern.
"I hope we'll have a nice sunny day," White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito said. "It's harder to play baseball in the cold, in general. Guys don't like hitting in the cold, and guys don't like pitching in the cold. It's just part of the game early in the year. I may have to throw some more fastballs inside, but I'll stay with my game plan and trust my stuff."
Giolito will square off against Jorge Lopez for Kansas City. Giolito is 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA and a .199 opponents' batting average in six starts against the Royals. Lopez will make his first appearance against the White Sox.
Chicago manager Rick Renteria said it's just a matter of adapting to the conditions.
"(The players) may not like it," he said. "You don't get used to it. You have to adapt to it. Both clubs have to deal with it. It's nothing you can blame for any outcome. Hitters, in cold weather, don't like pitches in because it does hurt a little bit. But I think the pitchers will follow the design and the plan they put together. If it happens to be something they believe they can use to their advantage, I'm sure they will."
Kansas City skipper Ned Yost said the weather doesn't change a thing.
"It's not any harder to hit (when it's cold)," he said. "That's an old wives' tale. Your adrenaline is going. You're fine. If you don't catch it right, even when it's warm, you hurt. We just pitch our game. We pitch to their weaknesses."
The Royals are looking to sweep the series after claiming an 8-6 win on Saturday. Jorge Soler had three hits and three RBIs and Alex Gordon scored three runs without the benefit of a hit. Billy Hamilton also had his first three hits as a Royal.
Kansas City's team speed was very evident. "Speed tends to take your focus off the hitter to try to control the running game a little bit more," Yost said. "That's the type of baseball we like to play. We like to push it."
Renteria is confident that Giolito will build on last year's performance.
"I don't think you can go into the season doubting what they can do," he said of Giolito specifically and the rotation in general. "The more time they spend at the major league level the more comfortable they are in their own skin. You're looking for them to have success. I don't know that just being here is enough."
The top three starters for Kansas City are all second- or third-year players. But Yost said that doesn't impact what he expects from them, including Lopez.
"I expect them to go out and give me their best effort," he said. "What else can I expect. I expect them to go out, be prepared and give me their best effort."
--Field Level Media
Updated March 30, 2019