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Gamethread: Angels at White Sox

Vince Velasquez is back, to persuade you to love him.

San Francisco Giants v Chicago White Sox
José Abreu, along with other key starters, are in the lineup this afternoon.
Norm Hall/Getty Images

Happy Saturday! Although it is pretty cold in Chicago and hard to imagine a baseball game being played, we have some action out in sunny Arizona. After a late finish last night, the Chicago White Sox (5-4) are back at it against the Angels (4-3) this afternoon at Camelback Ranch. The White Sox were shut out last night, so hopefully we can see some offensive production as key players return to the lineup.

Vince Velasquez will start today after being signed by the team post-lockout on a one-year deal that, curiously, guarantees a major league roster spot. He has already had one successful outing this spring, pitching two innings with no runs. This is a big game for him to see what role he will possibly be playing on a team that already sports five starters. Velasquez spent last year with the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres, where he went 3-9 with a 6.30 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. Although those numbers aren’t too convincing, it will be interesting to see how he performs in the opportunities he is being given with the White Sox.

Righty César Valdez will start on the mound for the Angels. The 37-year-old veteran first started in the league in 2010 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. After seven years in other leagues, he returned to the majors with the Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays in 2017 and spent the last two years with the Baltimore Orioles before signing a minor league deal with the Angels this offseason. His career stats sit at 5-6, with a 6.08 ERA, 111 hits, and a 1.59 WHIP.

Let’s take a look at the starting lineups today.

Tim Anderson and Luis Robert will lead it off, followed by José Abreu, Yóan Moncada, and Eloy Jiménez all returning to the lineup. Gavin Sheets will DH with Leury García getting the start in right field. Josh Harrison is back at second base, with Seby Zavala starting as the catcher as Yasmani Grandal gets the day off.

Imagine being the opposing pitcher and the first person you have to see at the plate is Shohei Ohtani. Hey, at least he is just the DH and not pitching as well.

The good news is that the game actually WILL be televised today! Tune into NBCSCHI to watch or ESPN 1000 to listen. Boy, does that sound good to say. Game time is 3:05 p.m. CT.