Jose Quintana didn’t get a chance to prove his worth last season until May, first as the new starter while Chris Sale was being shoved back into the bullpen (remember that?!) and then perpetually filling John Danks‘ spot in the rotation while we all waited months to find out that he needed surgery. We slowly allowed ourselves to believe that he had what it takes as he gave up just 6 runs in his first 6 starts. Impressive. His status as a rookie that had only gone over 55 innings in a season once in his professional career did eventually catch up to him, his fatigue made clear by a rising walk rate. Despite the fading results as the season wore on, he still managed to finish 2012 with a 115 ERA+ which makes him quite valuable as a starter. With a winter of rest behind him, the 24 year-old Colombian will attempt to build on his first full campaign and keep his control into the season. Though you can’t be in control come September without first making it through April. He’s getting his feet wet this season against a Mariners lineup that is regarded as poor, but has so far helped push the Mariners out of the gate with a 4-4 record.
Blake Beavan hasn’t made a ton of big league starts, he’s only been in the league 2 seasons. But 2 of those starts were against the White Sox, both last year, and he mustered up just 3 K’s in 11 innings resulting in a pair of losses. He’s pitching to contact and the Pale Hose are just the team to exploit an inability to induce swing and miss.
Defense is half of the game, though in the last series the Sox didn’t seem entirely interested in fulfilling that end. Runs are needed, sure, but run prevention is necessary as well. Tonight’s defensive crew + Adam Dunn:
1. De Aza – CF
2. Keppinger – 3B
3. Rios – RF
4. Dunn – DH
5. Konerko – 1B
6. Dayan – LF
7. Alexei – SS
8. Tyler “.571” Flowers – C
9. Beckham – 2B
Robin Ventura is wisely not letting a single day of the backwards hitting lineup deter him. Tyler Flowers and Gordon Beckham combined for 0 outs in yesterday’s contest while hitting at the bottom of the order and we watched Alejandro De Aza and Jeff Keppinger combine for 8, often at key stages of the game. The one and two spots in the lineup accounted for two-thirds of the runners left on base.
The Seattle Mariners are lead into town by newly acquired (as well as former White Sox draft pick) Mike Morse and his league leading 4 HR. Morse’s power stroke has to tone down some time but moving from the cavernous O.Co Coliseum where the M’s opened up the season to U.S. Cellular Field hardly seems like the recipe.
Michael Saunders was at the center of 2 White Sox home wins last season with poor fielding, most notably a can o’ corn off the bat of Paul Konerko that missed his mitt and slapped him in the face. He’ll play right field and the righty heavy lineup might do well to think about shooting some balls in his direction. Also, Jason Bay, y’all. He’s still playing baseball, believe it or not.
Where to Watch
Game available on WCIU for the Chicago area and Seattle area viewers can tune in on ROOT Sports. 7:10 Central start time.