Opening Day is finally here and the Chicago White Sox are back on the baseball diamond. They will be at Kauffman Stadium to face the Kansas City Royals, the reigning American League champion.
The Royals last season were one of the two AL Wild Card teams, one win away from being World Series champions, losing the Fall Classic in seven games to the San Francisco Giants.
KC last season finished 89-73, second in the AL Central, and the White Sox were fourth at 73-89.
But this is 2015, and the White Sox and Royals both should be in contention for the AL Central championship, a title the White Sox haven’t won since 2008.
As this first series of the ’15 season is set to begin, here are the three pitching matchups we’ll see in this three-game series, along with a quick look at the starters for the White Sox and Royals.
• Monday, April 6
Jeff Samardzija (RHP) vs. Yordano Ventura (RHP)
Monday’s matchup is going to be very fun to see, because with Samardzija lets hope we don’t see the same pitcher we watched this spring. Samardzija (who is making his first White Sox start) was 1-3 this spring with an 8.44 ERA in five starts.
The right-handed White Sox starter in 21 innings during Cactus League play allowed an alarming nine home runs. That stat is the one that is most worrisome of any of the aforementioned spring stats.
In ’14 with the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics, Samardzija had 200-plus Ks with seven wins and a 2.99 ERA.
Ventura was 14-10 last season with a 3.22 ERA in 33 starts (34 games). Ventura totaled 159 strikeouts in ’14. This spring, Ventura was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA (18 IP).
Mar 4, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana throws in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during a spring training baseball game at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
• Wednesday, April 8
Jose Quintana (LHP) vs. Danny Duffy (LHP)
In his final spring outing, Quintana didn’t have his best start. He lost the game in which he pitched six innings, allowing six earned runs on eight hits and no walks. This spring Quintana finished 2-2 with a 4.94 ERA in 23.2 IP.
Quintana did strikeout 19 batters this spring. In ’14, Quintana ended the season with an 9-11 record (3.32 ERA), as he pitched better than the aforementioned win-loss record.
Duffy is coming off a 9-12 season where he compiled an ERA of 2.53 in 31 games (25 starts). Duffy collected 113 Ks last season, and this spring the lefty was 0-1 in five starts (18.1 IP) with a 4.91 ERA (15 Ks).
• Thursday, April 9
John Danks (LHP) vs. Edinson Volquez (RHP)
This matchup is interesting because it is between two pitchers whose careers have been derailed by some sort of injury. Danks is coming off an 11-11 season (4.74 ERA) in 32 starts one year ago. Also in ’14, Danks pitched 193.2 innings.
This spring Danks was 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA in 10.1 IP. The LHP had three starts, allowing eight earned runs with five strikeouts.
Volquez finished the spring 2-3 in 21.1 IP (6.33 ERA), with 21 strikeouts in six spring starts. Last season, with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Volquez was 13-7 in 32 games (31 starts) with a 3.04 ERA (140 Ks).
• Series Prediction
The White Sox will open the year 2-1 in this three-game set, with the possible loss coming on Thursday.
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