This is an assumption, but an assumption I'm pretty confident in making after Monday's less-than-inspiring 10-1 loss in the season opener.
Smart White Sox fans would never go so far as make rash judgements after nine of 1,458 scheduled innings have been played, but there are still certain things to look for when Jose Quintana faces off against Danny Duffy at 7:10 p.m. at Kauffman Stadium.
Quintana > Samardzija
Some folks made the argument during the offseason that Quintana is actually a better pitcher than Jeff Samardzija, who many have touted as a co-ace of sorts to Chris Sale since the White Sox acquired him during the offseason. Some have called him among the most underrated pitchers in baseball. Regardless of what you think of the 26-year-old lefty, it will calm a lot of nerves if he's able to begin his ascent out of obscurity and into the spotlight with a shutdown game against the defending American League champs and MVP favorite Mike Moustakas.
I'm not a proponent of citing small sample sizes, so it's probably not worth mentioning that Quintana was 0-3 with a 4.88 ERA in 27.2 innings (four starts) against the Royals a year ago, but his success or failure will rely on his ability or lack thereof to miss bats. While he struggled against Kansas City in 2014, he still posted a 20/4 strikeout to walk ratio. But the Royals, among the best in the league in avoiding strikeouts, swung and missed just four times on Monday against the strikeout reliant Samardzija.
If the Royals, however, continue to find success dinking the ball around the field...
We'll take not terrible
Nobody expected the White Sox to be among the top defensive teams in the league. The roster Rick Hahn & Co. built during the offseason was focused more on offense and pitching. But not being a complete detriment would be ideal.
Nobody is going to say Micah Johnson's defense prevented the White Sox from winning in a nine-run loss, but him handling the position defensively may end up being the determining factor in whether or not he can stick at the position long-term.
Johnson's defense was the noticeable sore spot in Monday's loss, but the White Sox also have defensive question marks in the outfield corners, third base, and catcher. The offense and pitching staff are expected to be quality enough that the defense doesn't have to be top-notch for the White Sox to contend, but it also can't be a legitimate hinderance. Just be not terrible. That's all I ask.
Danny Duffy represents the White Sox's first opportunity to have a left-handed starter this season. Conor Gillaspie is abysmal against lefties. We know this. But this year's White Sox have plenty of bench pieces who can spell him during games like this. Today, we could get our first glimpse of Emilio Bonifacio, Carlos Sanchez, or maybe even...
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