For his next trick, Chris Sale will don a snazzy 1983 pullover jersey and attempt to build upon his scoreless season debut. Sale himself said he was pumped for his first Opening Day start and the White Sox needed every bit of his stopping power, having won the game only 1-0. He made starts against the Mariners twice last year, both wins, the second of which was his first career complete game.
It’s a familiar uniform for coach Harold Baines, though I’m guessing he was issued a larger size this time around. (1983 Topps)
The Seattle Mariners’ 31-year old native of Japan Hisashi Iwakuma is also making start number two after having lead his team to victory to begin his season. He struck out 7 in his 6 innings allowing just a solo HR to Yoenis Cespedes, and there isn’t much shame in that. The right-hander also pushes the White Sox streak of not facing a lefty starter to 6 games. The lefty/righty matchup isn’t the most important thing in the world, but there was concern coming in over the lack of left handed hitting on the White Sox roster. There are players in the lineup that have fairly pronounced platoon splits, though. Dayan Viciedo gave up nearly 400 (!!!!!) points of OPS to right-handed pitching in 2012 and the struggling Jeff Keppinger owns a less pronounced platoon discrepancy with a much better batting line against lefties in his career. That said, Conor Gillaspie, who scored a pair of runs in yesterday’s victory, will get the start at third today.
1.De Aza – LF
2.Alexei – SS
3.Rios – RF
4.Dunn – 1B
5.Konerko – DH
6.Viciedo – LF
7.Gillaspie – 3B
8.Tyler Flowers – C
9.Beckham – 2B
Robin Ventura is giving Alexei another shot in the two-hole. Ramirez is off to an uncharacteristic solid cold weather start. He’s collected 6 hits in his 17 at-bats and is even sporting a 1:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Enjoy that while you can. Konerko will ease back into the lineup at DH allowing Dunn a start at first.
If the White Sox can christen the revival of those 1983 throwbacks with a win that will mean another series victory to start the year, and as I always say when a team wins 2 out of 3: if you can do that all year long, you’ll find yourself in the playoffs.
Where to Watch
Game available on WGN for the Chicago area and Seattle area viewers can tune in on ROOT Sports. 1:10 Central start time.