MLB: Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels

The Other Opening Day – Game Preview & Lineups 4/8

The White Sox started the season with 4 games on the road. This was on the schedule, we’ve known for quite some time that this was going to happen. The White Sox started the season by winning 3 out of 4 games on the road. This was not a scheduled event, and no I did not make this up.

A home opener, should your team not have hosted their true opening day, can provide a feeling of new opportunity. Team’s slow start remove the residue of opening day hope you had that the season wouldn’t be a complete disappointment? Home Openers: A New Hope. The White Sox 3-1 record means nobody wants a mulligan. It’s not necessary. Everybody is still feeling shiny and new because hope still exists. They are strolling into US Cellular Field with confidence. As victors. As solvers of problems disguised as baseball players wearing uniforms different from their own. And judging by the forecast, they themselves should be wearing different, heavier uniforms. What happens when a hot Sox team comes to a cold Chicago? I guess we’ll find out.

“What have you done for me lately?” is not a question that is asked when deciding who gets the starting pitching nod for a home opener. John Danks has done plenty for this baseball team over the years, and to say that he’s done nothing over the past couple would be unfair, but he lacks the marquee strength a fan might desire to headline what is typically the most attended game of the season. Considering Danks’ 2012 shoulder surgery, what he does do is quite remarkable, and not generally as appreciated as it could be. He exists in the game of baseball. He has taken an injury that often sends pitchers home to contemplate their next steps in life, and parlayed it into years of a performance just good enough to allow him to stay. Stepping out on to the mound today, John Danks will only be 30-years old. He hasn’t had a better-than-average cFIP since 2011 and PECOTA thinks he’s going to struggle to be a replacement level player this season. But John Danks is still something of a success story, and his fifth starter stuff will be on display as the Sox look for their first home win.

Danny Salazar is most certainly not the same pitcher as John Danks. He slots into the middle of a very strong Cleveland rotation and is coming off a year that saw him throw a career high 185 innings, during which he struck out over 25 percent of the batters he faced. He is, like Danks, a bit prone to the long ball, although perhaps both starters will benefit from frigid temperatures in that respect. After yesterday’s bullpen-victimizing offensive onslaught, it would be encouraging to see some fireworks set off with a starting pitcher still in the game.

Adam Eaton has collected two or more hits in each of the first four games this season. He’s the first White Sox player to start the team’s season in that fashion since Nellie Fox in 1955. A tall ask, but a pair of hits today would give him the honor of being the only Sox player to start the season with 5 such games.

White Sox Lineup:

  1. Adam Eaton – RF
  2. Jimmy Rollins – SS
  3. Jose Abreu – 1B
  4. Todd Frazier – 3B
  5. Melky Cabrera – LF
  6. Avisail Garcia – DH
  7. Brett Lawrie – 2B
  8. Alex Avila – C
  9. Austin Jackson – CF

Indians Lineup:

  1. Rajai Davis – CF
  2. Jason Kipnis – 2B
  3. Francisco Lindor – SS
  4. Mike Napoli – 1B
  5. Carlos Santana – DH
  6. Yan Gomes – C
  7. Marlon Byrd – RF
  8. Juan Uribe – 3B
  9. Jose Ramirez – LF

A decidedly aged lineup is being sent out in support of the Tribe’s young right-hander. In particular, Rajai Davis, Marlon Byrd, and old friend Juan Uribe are all in the 35 and over club.

Lead Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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