South Side fans had a reason to be happy on this beautiful day in April.
The sun was shining, the weather was wonderful, and Mark Buehrle pitched seven strong innings in his record setting eighth opening day start for the Chicago White Sox, en route to a 6-0 victory.
In his first opening day victory since 2005, Buehrle had a solid pitching line, walking only one batter while striking out three, and giving up just three hits in his seven innings.
One play heavily of note came in the fifth inning, when a ball was rocketed off Buehrle's shin by Lou Marson. Buehrle managed to scamper over to the ball and scoop it between his legs as he tumbled to the ground, into the bare hand of Paul Konerko.
The fanfare was deafening.
His counterpart, Jake Westbrook, didn't fare quite so well. In his first full start since 2008, Westbrook lasted only four innings against the White Sox new-look line up, yielding five hits and five runs, all earned. He walked four, and only managed one strikeout.
Though it is early, the White Sox bullpen looked like a reason for calm instead of worry. J. J. Putz and Matt Thornton combined for two innings of relief, with only one hit allowed, no runs, and a combined four strikeouts.
It's also too early to tell whether or not all of the off-season moves will work out in the White Sox favor, but if this is par for the course, offensive concerns could be put to rest.
Paul Konerko made a quick statement in the game, taking Westbrook deep to right-center field in the first inning of play, after Carlos Quentin got on base with a double.
Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios also got off to a fast start with the bat. Beckham went two for four on the afternoon with a single and a double, and Alex Rios simply crushed a ball into straightaway center field for an Opening Day home run.
Sox Reason to Smile: Who wouldn't want to be with the White Sox today? The offense clicked, there were no errors, and the pitching was solid.
Sox Reason to Worry: It's too early for anyone to worry, but keep an eye on Juan Pierre and Mark Teahen. It may just be the jitters of moving to a new city, but neither player managed a hit in today's contest.
Both teams get a day off tomorrow, and pick up their series again on Wednesday. The first pitch is slated for 7:10 PM, Central time.
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