Let the marathon begin.
The Chicago White Sox open the 2012 Major League Baseball season today against the Texas Rangers. First pitch at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is set for 2:05 ET with John Danks taking the mound against Colby Lewis.
Managers usually preach to their teams that the first games of the season are just as important as the last. Wins are wins, and losses are losses, no matter what time of year they come, and they all count the same.
Last season, the White Sox lost a franchise-record 18 games in April. The team never recovered, and Chicago finished in third place with a 79-83 record.
Baseball is a game of confidence, and with plenty of young talent in the lineup, a strong start to the season could spring the White Sox in the right direction. It will be up to Chicago's veterans to set the tone early in the season for the team's youth.
The White Sox have a difficult opening series against the two-time defending American League champions. Chicago then takes on the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field before its home opener against the defending AL Central champion Detroit Tigers on April 13. This month also includes a six-game west coast road trip against the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners. The team wraps up the month with a four-game series versus the Boston Red Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
With that in mind, here are five players who need to have strong starts for the White Sox to be successful at the beginning of the 2012 season.