With the start of spring training just 30 days away, the Chicago White Sox still have some big questions surrounding their pitching staff. One of the more intriguing questions heading into the 2013 season is who will second-year manager Robin Ventura name as the White Sox opening day starter.
Ventura really has three solid options to pick from. The most obvious choice when looking at the numbers from last year would be Chris Sale. With an ERA of 3.05 and a 17-8 record in 2012, there is no doubt Sale has a strong case to get the nod from Ventura as the Sox’s number one starter to begin this season. However, it was very obvious in Sale’s last few starts of the 2012 season that he was running out of gas. In the last month of the season Sale posted a 4.11 ERA, which was his highest of any month in 2012. While Sale may have been a Cy Young Award candidate last year, his late-season troubles may be enough to keep him from getting the opening day start.
Last years opening day starter, John Danks, is also a candidate to be the South Siders number one this year. The fact that Danks received a five-year, $65 million extension with the Sox last off-season surprised and even upset some Sox fans. It didn’t help matters when Danks was only able to pitch nine games in 2012 before eventually needing shoulder surgery that ended his 2012 season with a 3-4 record and a 5.70 ERA. That being said, with Danks showing great progress in his rehab, he is once again an option for Ventura as his opening day starter.
The last contender in the 2013 Chicago White Sox number one starter sweepstakes is Jake Peavy. Now in his 10th year in the MLB, Peavy is the veteran of the White Sox’s pitching staff. While Peavy’s record last year was below .500 (11-12) his 3.37 ERA proves he pitched much better than his record showed. For Peavy, 2012 was really his first year in Chicago that he stayed healthy. Ventura may look to Peavy to be the Sox’s number one because Peavy has proven that when healthy, he is a dominant pitcher.
While all three pitchers can make a case to why they should be the White Sox’s opening day starter, Peavy is the one who makes the most sense. Every time Peavy takes the mound he pitches as if it’s game seven of the World Series. His intensity is almost unmatchable. An attitude like Peavy’s can rub off on younger pitchers, and can set a certain standard for a staff. If the other four starters on the White Sox staff pitch with an attitude like Peavy’s this season, the postseason is very much in reach for the Sox.
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