TUCSON, Ariz. – The White Sox made it official on Friday morning – Opening Day in Cleveland will now be finished under three hours.
That’s what happens when starting pitcher Mark Buehrle is on the mound – win or lose.
Buehrle, who will now have started six of the last seven openers for the South Siders, called it an honor, but is also well aware of the fact that he will have to get past hefty lefty C.C. Sabathia if he wants to start 1-0.
Not an easy task, considering he is 0-2 with a 6.08 ERA, allowing 16 earned runs and 31 hits in 23 2/3 innings of work in his last four starts against Sabathia.
“I don’t think it’s just the first game,’’ Buehrle said of opening with the Tribe. “The start of the season we need to get off to a hot stretch. Obviously the first game kind of leads you in the right direction, but if we lost or get blown out in that opener, it’s not going to show what we will do for the rest of the year.
“If we go out and beat them up, we don’t win the division. It’s a good way to start, but doesn’t mean everything.’’
As far as the rest of the rotation, Javier Vazquez will start Game 2, followed by John Danks, Jose Contreras and then Gavin Floyd.
The only way that changes is if there’s an injury or a trade, and the latter is very unlikely at this point. According to pitching coach Don Cooper, the club is sold on what Danks and Floyd have shown them this spring.
“The last few months [of the 2007 season] were good for Gavin,’’ Cooper said. “He's throwing the ball well down here. The first part of the season was very good for Danks and he's throwing the ball well down here, so they're our [third] and fifth guy. We believe in them.’’