Analysis

White Sox Series Preview: Opening Day 2017 2.0, and the Rest of the Series. 

The Chicago White Sox will make a second attempt to open their 2017 campaign on Tuesday afternoon, after Monday’s game was washed out after a nearly two hour rain delay. 

The club will open a three game series with the Detroit Tigers at the newly named Guaranteed Rate Field. A new new on the stadium (despite our love, or lack of love for the name) is a fitting theme for a team largely embarking on a new chapter of baseball.

Reminder: Fans can bring their used or unused ticket for yesterday’s rained-out game to the stadium box office to receive a lower level or outfield reseeved voucher for a future game this season. Unfortunately, the voucher can not be redeemed for premium games like the Crosstown Classic, or Mark Buehrle’s Jersey retirement ceremony in June. Parking will be free in all lots for today’s game as well.

Here is our preview of the White Sox and Tigers opening series, and of course check back for a the latest series preview on the afternoon of the first game of each series this season.

White Sox Preview

The White Sox are a team in transition. Not only has the composition of the 25-man roster changed dramatically to start the season, but several more modifications are in store.


Yoan Moncada will be called up at some point in the not-so-distant future. Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Todd Frazier and Melky Cabrera are trade candidates with Quintana and Robertson almost certainly getting moved before the non-waiver trade deadline. One of James Shields or Derek Holland will pitch themselves off the roster or go on the DL to make room for one of the new arms acquired this offseason (think Reynaldo Lopez).

So going into the first series of the season for new manager Rick Renteria, the White Sox will look to play clean baseball. In fact, that is all many of us can hope for this season. A brand of baseball that avoids the mental gaffes so common under Robin Ventura’s meandering eye. Yes, they will lose a lot of games. Just don’t make it any more agonizing than it’s already going to be, huh?

As far as what to watch for, keep your eye on Cody Asche. Brought to camp as a non-roster invitee, Asche hit his way onto the 25-man. Plays like going from first to second on a fly-ball to right this past week didn’t hurt, of course, but his .310/.453/.714 slash over 42 Cactus League at-bats put him over the top. Look for him to occupy the DH spot against right-handers Justin Verlander and Jordan Zimmermann.

Also keep an eye on Jacob May. The center fielder has exactly 83 games above Double-A, but slashed out at .349/.369/.524 in Arizona this spring. Coupled with exceptional defense and dynamic talent on the base-paths, May made offseason acquisition Peter Bourjos expendable. Quite the story, actually. And if he excels to start the season, the clock on the Charlie Tilson era may never get started. Definitely a story-line to follow.

2016 Cy Young Award finalist Justin Verlander will take the ball on Opening Day – Source: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images North America

Tigers Preview

The Detroit Tigers come into Opening Day hurting. J.D. Martinez (lisfranc ligament) opens the season on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Thursday, per The Detroit News. Miguel Cabrera has a balky back. The injury won’t prevent the first baseman from missing Opening Day, but it did limit him in spring training.

And then there’s the bottom portion of the Tigers projected Opening Day lineup. See, after Ian Kinsler, Nick Castellanos, Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Justin Upton, the Tigers don’t have much in the way of bankable offensive assets. Sure, Jose Iglesias and James McCann are great and good, respectively, on defense, but that isn’t going to push runs across the plate. This is especially concerning since, outside Verlander and Michael Fulmer, the club is working with starting pitchers on the wrong side of peak (Anibal Sanchez, Zimmermann) or woefully susceptible to injury (Daniel Norris).

Either way, the first series will set the tone for the Tigers. Look for them to try and play sound defensive baseball against Quintana on Opening Day and then pull out the lumber at the top of the order against Shields and Holland.

Where to Watch and Listen

Tuesday: 1:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago

Wednesday: 1:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago

Thursday: 1:10 p.m., WGN

*All games on WLS-AM 890

Probable Pitchers (Spring training statistics)

Tuesday: RHP Justin Verlander (0-2, 3.16 ERA) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (1-0, 1.00 ERA)

Wednesday: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (0-1, 8.74 ERA) vs. RHP James Shields (0-1, 3.45 ERA)

Thursday: LHP Daniel Norris (1-2, 6.43 ERA) vs. LHP Derek Holland (2-1, 5.74 ERA)

Series Prediction

*In which I take random stabs at calling the results ahead of time. One of these has to be right. Eventually.

Tuesday: Q keeps the club in the game but takes a no-decision as the White Sox rally late to win in extras.
Wednesday: Long Ball Shields gives up seven earned in 2.1 IP as the White Sox get thrashed.

Thursday: Dutch pitches well for three innings before the wheels fall off. White Sox lose big…again.

Bring on Gonzo!

 

Follow General Soreness @matthewsmitbr

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