Chris Sale is one of baseball’s true aces, but newcomer Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to start for the White Sox on Opening Day as the 26-year old left-hander continues his recovery from a fractured foot. He is expected to be ready to join the rotation April 12.
Sale led the American League in ERA+ (178) and strikeouts per nine innings (10.8) and finished third in the voting for the American League Cy Young Award last season (his third straight top six finish). He also made the All Star team for the third consecutive year.
Samardzija has already made two Opening Day starts for a Chicago franchise, but Monday’s will be his first for the South Siders. After seven years with the Cubs, the 30-year old right-hander was traded to Oakland. He made the All-Star team for the first time last season and posted his best overall season as a starting pitcher.
With the addition of “Shark,” there aren’t many one-two punches in the American League than the White Sox Sale and Samardzija, and lefty Jose Quintana is one of the best No. 3 starters in the league.
The only thing keeping Chicago from a top ten ranking is the four-five combination of John Danks and Hector Noesi, which while serviceable is a below average pair. However, once highly touted prospect Carlos Rodon earns his early season call-up, this group could rise.
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