The Kansas City Royals had an eventful evening Friday night against the Chicago White Sox.
The matchup with the White Sox pitted Luis Mendoza against the lanky left-hander Chris Sale for the third time this season. The Sox had come out victorious the first two meetings, but Mendoza was sharp and the Royals went on to win the opener of a three game set 4-2.
Mendoza, 28, kept Sox hitters off-balance all evening, especially third baseman Kevin Youkilis, with a steady diet of well-timed fastballs and a breaking ball that was nearly impossible to hit for most of the evening. Mendoza, who is not arbitration eligible until 2014, has been pitching very well lately.
The Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton noted that Friday night was the seventh quality start in Mendoza’s last nine appearances. He has lowered his ERA from 4.95 to 4.26 over his last 10 starts. His run has been impressive and, although he is only 5-4 during this stretch, he is showing steady improvement with his control and location.
On the injury front, second baseman Chris Getz will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a fractured left thumb. Getz suffered the injury on a bunt attempt in the fifth inning. Tod Palmer from the Star reported that Bruce Toby from the KU Medical Center is set to surgically repair the injured digit Saturday.
To replace Getz, the Royals re-called second baseman Johnny Giavotella. Giavotella, 25, underperformed this year for the Royals batting .217 with no home runs and six RBI in 21 games. He was on a terror at Triple-A, however, batting .328 with 10 home runs, 71 RBI and an OPS of .877, and if he can take advantage of this opportunity, the Royals may be set at second for some time.
Where Giatovella bats is to be determined as Getz had just assumed the leadoff role for the Royals in manager Ned Yost’s new-look lineup that had Alex Gordon batting third after a stretch of 70 games batting at the top of the order. Gordon had thrived in the leadoff spot, batting .334 with 27 doubles, so what Yost does moving forward will be interesting to see.