CHICAGO – Lately, the Kansas City Royals have brought out the worst in White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy.
Over the previous 21/2 seasons, Kansas City was Peavy’s kryptonite. He went 0-6 with a 5.56 ERA in his past seven starts against the Royals, which scored at least three runs in each of those starts. Peavy finally overcame Kansas City in his first start of the season Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field, despite shaky defense behind him that committed three errors.
Peavy (1-0) gave up two runs (one earned) in six innings on 107 pitches in the Sox’s 5-2 win. He didn’t walk a batter while striking out six and surrendering four hits to beat the Royals for the first time since May 15, 2010, at Kauffman Stadium.
“Getting off to a good start is always nice,” Peavy said. “It’s not of uttermost importance, but against a team that has been our nemesis, it’s like if we lose a few, ‘Here we go again,’ and everyone jumps on ‘We can’t beat the Royals.’ I think it was big for us to come out and win.”
WBC prepared Rios, De Aza: The World Baseball Classic, though it extended spring training by a week, was a blessing for some of the MLB players who participated in the event.
Sox manager Robin Ventura said outfielders Alex Rios and Alejandro De Aza, who represented Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, respectively, were able to get a head start thanks to playing in the competitive games. While it hasn’t shown up in the box score for De Aza, who is still looking for his first hit of the season, Rios’ comfort level has been noticeable to Ventura.
“I think there’s for some guys, it’s you get there and you might not be ready,” Ventura said. “It just moves your clock up. For [Rios] and De Aza, they played the longest too. So, they are in game situations earlier then everybody and they are playing nine innings earlier then everybody.”
Pesky Royals: Of all the teams the Sox play each year, the Royals have become a major pest the past two seasons.
Since 2011, the Sox are 15-23 against Kansas City, including a 9-11 mark at U.S. Cellular Field. In comparison, they thrived when facing the Royals from 2006-10 posting a 54-37 record and were especially impressive at home where they went 31-15. While the Tigers, coming off a World Series appearance, and an improved Indians squad have received a lot of attention for their improvements, the Royals have been under the radar.
“There’s not a whole lot of name recognition over there, but they got guys who can really, really play and they’re going to be right in the middle of things,” Peavy said. “We understand that we have to play better against Kansas City to be the team we want to be.”