The first four members of the Chicago White Sox starting rotation held their own against the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros in the opening series of the 2023 season. The first four to go to the mound had a combined 30 strikeouts against the strong Houston lineup.
By sending Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Mike Clevinger to the mound against the Astros, the White Sox showed they have a talented group of starters who can get the job done this season. The proof was in their overall play over the first four games of the season.
Each starter for the White Sox pitched no less than five innings and it started with the remarkable performance of Cease on Opening Day. He struck out 10 Houston batters in 6.1 innings.
Cease also allowed only one earned run on two hits and no walks in Chicago's win. Cease finished the game with a 1.42 ERA. In facing 22 batters, he had that success with 86 pitches, with 62 of those pitches going for strikes.
The Chicago White Sox needed all of their pitchers to be at their best.
Cease's performance was just the start of the success he's going to have this season and then there was Lynn's showing in game two for Chicago.
Though Lynn walked a few batters (the rest of the White Sox starters combined for four walks in three games), it was still a good enough effort in his first game of the season.
In his 5.2 innings, Lynn's no-decision game saw him allow just two earned runs while striking out six. The home run he allowed wasn't the highlight of the weekend.
Giolito also had a no-decision in his first start of the season and he allowed two earned runs off five hits and a walk.
In the third White Sox game of the season, Giolito threw 97 pitches but had six strikeouts (three to former teammate Jose Abreu) and walked just one batter in five innings. Again, it was a good start for Chicago in Giolito's season debut and that's what this franchise needed.
Sunday was another five-inning effort for a White Sox starter with Clevinger in his debut as a Chicago starter pitching five innings and allowing no runs off three hits and three walks as he was the lone White Sox pitcher to have a win this weekend in Houston.
Clevinger threw 98 pitches and had eight strikeouts as the 23 batters he faced failed to score a run against him. The newest Chicago starting pitcher was the only one of the four starters to not allow a run against the Astros.
This weekend was a nice way for the starters of the White Sox to get things rolling for '23. Though there were times when things weren't as successful as one might have hoped, the White Sox starters got the job done.
The way Chicago's starters began the season brings hope as the season continues on, because if the earned runs can stay at five in four games and the strikeout total can be an average of 7.5 strikeouts per outing, then the positives will outweigh the negatives in '23.