The condensed schedule, caused by the late start to spring training and the regular season, has led to day-night doubleheaders such as the one facing the Chicago White Sox and the host Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.
The White Sox won the series opener 5-3 in 10 innings Monday night on Luis Robert's two-out, two-run home run. The visitors took a 3-0 lead to the eighth, but the Royals tied it on a two-run double by Whit Merrifield and an RBI single by Andrew Benintendi before Robert's heroics.
Chicago will send Dylan Cease (3-1, 3.55 ERA) to the mound in the first game Tuesday, and the White Sox planned to wait until after that game to determine who would get the ball for the nightcap. Manager Tony La Russa said it's possible that Lucas Giolito (2-1, 2.70) could return from the COVID injured list, but that was to be determined.
The Royals will have Jonathan Heasley (0-1, 2.70 ERA) pitch the first game, while Brady Singer (0-0, 6.35) will pitch the nightcap.
The twin bill is part of a five-game series that will stretch both clubs' rosters.
"If there were five days (to play the five games), that would be one thing," La Russa said. "If you had a little break before or after it would be another thing. But it's the same thing for them. They just had a series in Colorado, and they've got another series coming this weekend.
"It's a lot of games. We're all protecting our staffs, and we don't have a lot of extra players. There will be a bunch of guys who play both games (Tuesday). You have to figure out who needs a break."
La Russa said that Giolito would pitch in the series, it's just a question of Tuesday or Wednesday.
"The good part of it is that all the signs are looking up on Gio," the manager said. "We're going to wait and see. There's enough going on with the game we're playing (Monday) and the first game (Tuesday)."
Cease, who is 3-2 with a 2.96 ERA in 10 career starts against the Royals, has been hot and cold this season. He has yielded 15 runs total in his seven starts, but 10 of them came in two outings.
The right-hander gave up six runs in four innings during a no-decision against the New York Yankees on Thursday in his latest start.
Heasley has not faced the White Sox in his brief career. He will be making his second appearance of the season Tuesday, after taking a 3-1 loss in a start at Texas on Thursday. Heasley allowed one run on four hits with one strikeout in 3 1/3 innings. Four walks, and no offensive support, did him in.
Singer, who is due to be recalled from Triple-A Omaha for the start, needs to find the form that made him one of the Royals' top pitching prospects. He made just three outings, all in relief, before being sent to the minors on April 28.
"I'm excited to get him out there," Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. "We know he's a big part of this organization. It's good to see that he had a couple of good outings (with Omaha). He got work, and he wasn't getting work here.
"To be honest, how we've had to work our staff, and our 'pen especially, we need our starters to take the ball and go. We're not trying to put extra pressure on them. That's what we want every single night. But I know that's what Brady wants to do and I know that's what Jonathan wants to do.
"We're in a long stretch of games with a doubleheader right in the middle of it. It puts a lot of pressure on us to pound the zone and make quality pitches."
The White Sox have won two of their past three games while the Royals have lost six of nine.
--Field Level Media