Tonight at 6:08 PM CST, the Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox in the first game of a four-game series.
Tonight starts Houston’s 62nd major league season, and their 59th as the Astros after spending three seasons as the Colt .45s. They’ve authored 31 winning seasons, 26 losing seasons, and four years in which they finished 81-81. They have an overall 4831-4820 win-loss regular season record, good for a .506 winning percentage. In their most recent action that counted, they won their second World Series Championship, over the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.
The Chicago White Sox enter the ring for their 123rd major league season. At 9492-9390 overall, they have a .503 winning percentage. They’ve put together 63 winning seasons, 54 losing campaigns, and five .500 efforts, including their 81-81 record from 2022. The White Sox have won five pennants (1906, 1917, 1919, 1959, 2005), winning the World Series three times (in bold). In Chicago’s most recent game action, they lost 10-1 to the Minnesota Twins on October 5.
The last time the White Sox played the Astros was from August 15 through 18 last season, a two-two split. In the series finale, the Astros defeated Chicago, 21-5. Alex Bregman had six RBI in that game, and Chas McCormick had five. Houston is 42-38 against the White Sox through the regular season. Unfortunately, the postseason is another matter. Houston is 3-5 versus the Pale Hose, including a 3-1 ALDS victory in 2021 and an 0-4 performance in the 2005 World Series.
Probable Starting Pitchers
March 30: Framber Valdez (41-23, 3.38) vs. Dylan Cease (36-26, 3.56)
March 31: Cristian Javier (20-12, 3.05) vs. Lance Lynn (123-84, 3.52)
April 1: José Urquidy (24-13, 3.74) vs. Lucas Giolito (53-47, 4.33)
April 2: Luis Garcia (26-17, 3.57) vs. Mike Clevinger (51-30, 3.39)
So you’re probably wondering who is number five? Hunter Brown was the odds-on choice, but he’s currently listed as day-to-day. With LMJ still on the shelf, could we see Seth Martinez? Ronel Blanco? Bryan Abreu? Forrest Whitley?
Probable Starting Lineups
Ditto for the starting lineup, but on Tuesday’s win over the Space Cowboys, the following lineup was employed:
- Jeremy Peña SS
- Yordan Alvarez DH
- Alex Bregman 3B
- José Abreu 1B
- Kyle Tucker RF
- Chas McCormick LF
- Jake Meyers CF
- Mauricio Dubón 2B
- Martín Maldonado C
- Tim Anderson SS
- Luis Robert Jr. CF
- Andrew Benintendi LF
- Eloy Jiménez DH
- Yoán Moncada 3B
- Andrew Vaughn 1B
- Yasmani Grandal C
- Oscar Colas RF
- Elvis Andrus 2B
Lance McCullers Jr. (forearm strain)
Jose Altuve (thumb)
Michael Brantley (shoulder)
Franchise Leaderboard Milestone Watch
Alex Bregman is 27th all-time on the Astros leaderboard, with 805 games played, and will move into a tie with Marwin Gonzalez for 26th if he plays all four games in this series.
With two runs scored, Yordan Alvarez ties Gerald Young in 43rd with 249.
Kyle Tucker’s next double, his 86th, moves him past Dickie Thon and Rafael Ramirez into 47th place.
Alvarez needs two home runs to give him 100 for his career. Tucker’s next, his 74th, will tie him in 27th with Derek Bell.
If Bregman steals a base, he’ll tie Gonzalez in 46th with 37.
With his next walk, Alvarez will pass Gonzalez and Enos Cabell into 44th with 181.
With a win, Valdez will tie Bob Bruce and Jim Ray (two guys, four first names) with 42 wins for 30th on the board. García needs one for 27, which would tie him in 49th with Chad Qualls.
By pitching in two games, Ryan Pressly would tie Danny Darwin in 28th with 220 games. Pressly would also break a tie with Frank DiPino in eighth by finishing one more game, his 120th. His next save will give him 77, moving him into sole possession of fourth on the all-time list passing Fred Gladding.
Valdez, currently at 514 1⁄3 innings, will pass Greg Swindell into sole possession of 43rd on the leaderboard with two outs. He’ll pass Andy Pettitte into 42nd with 5 2⁄3 innings pitched.
Javier has 378 strikeouts already. With 11, he’ll pass Ray (381), Scott Elarton (384), and Joaquin Andujar (388) into 44th.
At the Triple-A level, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys will start their season on the road tomorrow night at Southwest University Park, against the El Paso Chihuahuas at 8:05 PM CT.
The High-A Asheville Tourists and the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks will each open the season on April 6 at home against the Bowling Green Hot Rods and the Arkansas Travelers, respectively. The Single-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers will open on April 7 at home against the Carolina Mudcats.
Shall we play a game? Predict anything. If you predict Peña’s gonna hit three homers and he does...that’s like 12 points. Predict that Cristian Javier is going to strike out at least three? That’s like a half-point. Predict the four main Astros minor league affiliates all win? I’ll have to figure that one out. Add an attendance prediction, closest guess gets an extra point. Be the first one to the moon (figuratively).
Make your predictions in the comments. If there’s enough interest in this, I’ll score them throughout the season. The running standings, such as they are, will be included in the (more-or-less daily) Astros Crawfish Boil.