Happy Opening Week!
The only thing that could make this Monday a bit more bearable is being able to watch baseball. The Chicago White Sox (8-9) will visit Sloan Park this afternoon to face the Chicago Cubs (10-6). Between the news about Lance Lynn and the amount of runs opponents have been getting against the South Siders, the pitching staff needs to tighten it up as we approach Opening Day.
Speaking of pitching, your Opening Day starter has been announced!
[Pretends to be shocked.]
Giolito will start the first game in Detroit, followed by Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech to finish the series. This means that Dallas Keuchel will be your home opener starter — if everything goes as planned. Let’s just pray he has one of his good days.
Vince Velasquez will now play a bigger role than anticipated in the starting rotation, and he will get the start today to show what he can do. In his last outing against the Cincinnati Reds, the righty pitched two innings while allowing just two hits, no runs, and two strikeouts. He did have a bit of a worse outing against the Angels, going 2 1⁄2 innings with four hits, five runs, and three walks. Velasquez’s ERA currently sits at 7.11 with a 1.89 WHIP, and he will look to get that down today. Velasquez relies on his fastball 49.9% of the time, followed by his curveball, changeup, slider, and the occasional sinker.
Drew Smyly will take the mound for the Cubs. The newly-crowned World Series champion signed a one-year deal with the Bad Guys in the offseason after spending last year with the Atlanta Braves. He played a pivotal role in Atlanta’s success, and will try to do the same with the hapless Cubs this year. He has had a great spring so far in two appearances, holding a 1.93 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP. Smyly only uses three pitches: A fastball that he uses 46.7% of the time, a curveball (42%), and a cutter (11.4%).
Tim Anderson and Luis Robert will lead it off, followed by José Abreu in his usual spot and Adam Engel getting some reps in as the DH. Eloy Jiménez and Yoán Moncada will follow, and AJ Pollock will continue in right field. Josh Harrison and Nick Ciuffo will finish it off.
No radio or TV from the White Sox broadcast crew, but if you are really wanting to watch and sort of hate yourself, I guess you can tune into Marquee Network to see the Cubs broadcast. Game time is 3:05 p.m. CT.