Pictured above is Kansas City right-hander Jeremy Guthrie. He stinks.
He entered Wednesday night's game against the White Sox with a 3-12 record and a 6.56 ERA. No matter. He fired eight shutout innings as the Royals defeated the South Siders 2-1 at U.S. Cellular Field.
These days, it seems any pitcher wearing a Kansas City uniform can mow down the White Sox at will. Doesn't matter the Royals sport a lousy 47-63 record. They always beat the Sox because the likes of Luis Mendoza, Bruce Chen and Guthrie seem to baffle Chicago hitters. Really, it's a miracle the Sox took one out of three in the just-completed three-game series when you consider the following numbers.
1. The White Sox are 4-5 against Kansas City this year.
2. In those nine games, the Sox have scored four runs or less seven times.
3. Of those seven games, the Sox have scored two or less five times.
4. In their six home games against the Royals, in which the Sox have gone 2-4, they have scored a grand total of 13 runs. That pencils out to 2.2 runs per game.
5. The Sox have been outscored 38-27 in the nine games overall. That's 3.0 runs per game.
5. Coming into Wednesday, Kansas City's team ERA was 4.45.
Talk about pathetic production against a last-place team.
Now, contrast that with what the Detroit Tigers have done against Kansas City.
The Tigers have gone 7-1 in eight games against the Royals and have outscored them 40-22 in the process. That's 5.0 runs per game -- about what you would expect for a contending team.
Detroit has 10 games remaining against Kansas City, while the White Sox have nine. Despite their struggles this week, Chicago maintains a half-game lead in the standings. But, it's clear the Royals are going to have a say in who wins this tight American League Central race. They have a similar number of games remaining against both contending teams.
I'd be willing to bet the Tigers continue to pound lumps on the Royals and their mediocre-at-best pitching staff. If the Sox are serious about going to the postseason, they better find some answers for Chen, Mendoza, Guthrie, et al.