Houston Astros offer the Chicago White Sox a chance to start off on right foot
By Chip Egan
In 1983, the Chicago White Sox were "Winning Ugly". In 2022, the White Sox were just plain ugly.
However, the White Sox will look to turn their fortunes around this year and could not have asked for a better opponent to open up the 2023 baseball season against than the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros.
The two teams will start the year with a four-game series in Houston and while it marks only a few contests in a long 162-game campaign. It is the type of situation the White Sox can use to help get them started on the right foot.
Despite losing second baseman Jose Altuve for an extended period following a broken right thumb suffered during the World Baseball Classic, the Astros are still considered to be one of the favorites to win the World Series.
The White Sox have a huge series starting with the Astros to begin 2023.
Since 2015, the Astros have been to the World Series four times-winning the title twice and missed the postseason only once, back in 2016 when they still had a winning season at 84-78.
The team won 100 or more games four times during that span and has made it to at least the American League Championship Series each year.
That is the type of success White Sox fans were hoping for when the team began its rebuild several years ago. The problem is the success hasn't been there as the White Sox have only two playoff appearances and just as many postseason wins since 2020.
The sour taste of losing to the Astros in the American League Divisional Series in 2021 still lingers for the White Sox and its fan base.
Houston has been a problem for the White Sox over the years as the Astros have held a 24 to 16 advantage over the Southsiders since 2016. The White Sox have only won the season series between the two twice during that span.
That is why starting off with the defending champs is a good thing for the White Sox.
Beating a quality opponent that has been a thorn in your side this early can set a positive tone for the rest of the season which is definitely something the White Sox can use.
General manager Rick Hahn said the team was "embarrassed" with how things went last year considering they were one of the favorites to win their first World Series since 2005.
Opening up with the Astros should provide that urgency as should playing with a chip on their shoulder to prove they are better than what they showed last year.
Injuries aside, many players underperformed a year ago and bounce-back seasons are needed from guys like Lucas Giolito, Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenz, and Yasmani Grandal to get the team where it wants to go.
If the White Sox perceive themselves to be one of the better teams in the league, then proving it against a team viewed as the measuring stick in the American League would be a good start.