Saturday's matchup isn't necessarily an ideal one for Sox manager Robin Ventura to rest some of his better hitters.
But following a 10-inning game last night and an early start Saturday, that's what he's doing--despite the Sox trotting out fifth starter Dylan Axelrod against Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, who led the league with five shutouts last year.
Paul Konerko and Dayan Viciedo are out of the Sox's lineup Saturday, replaced by Conor Gillaspie and Dewayne Wise. Jeff Keppinger, who started the first four games of the season at third base, will play first while Wise will play center field and shift Alejandro De Aza to left field. The rookie Gillaspie gets the start at third base.
"You've got the 12 o'clock start," Ventura said. "Just mix it up, get some guys in there that haven't been in there yet, as far as starting."
Ventura is also switching things up behind the plate. Hector Gimenez makes his first start of the year, replacing Tyler Flowers at catcher.
The Sox have actually hit Hernandez, the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, rather well, especially at home. Hernandez is just 1-4 with a 4.75 ERA in seven career starts at U.S. Cellular Field.
"You've just got to take advantage of any mistakes he makes, or any mistakes they give you," Ventura said about facing Hernandez. "You've got to take advantage."
De Aza, the Sox's regular center fielder, will play left because Wise is more comfortable in center, Ventura said. The move isn't a big deal to De Aza.
"For him, he doesn't care," Ventura said. "I think as long as he's playing, he's all right."
Keppinger remains in the lineup despite starting the season 1-for-17.
"It's just four starts," Ventura said. "I'm not looking any more into it than that. He'll be fine."
- Ventura wants to avoid using reliever Matt Lindstrom on Saturday after Lindstrom threw 2 1/3 innings in Friday's 8-7 loss. "Last night kind of extended him a little bit," Ventura said. "But Hector (Santiago) is back in the mix (after pitching three innings Thursday against Kansas City). Everybody else is fine."
- Konerko's fourth-inning single last night moved him past Frank Thomas into third place on the Sox's all-time hit list with 2,173 hits.
- Hernandez is going for his 100th career win Saturday. If he wins and strikes out at least five, he'll join Walter Johnson, Bert Blyleven and Dwight Gooden as the only pitchers to record 100 wins and 1,500 strikeouts before their 27th birthday (Hernandez turns 27 on Monday).
- Jake Peavy will receive his 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove Award before Sunday's game. Peavy is the third pitcher in White Sox history to win the award. Jim Kaat won it in 1974 and 1975, and Mark Buehrle won it three straight years from 2009-11.
- The Sox will wear 1983 replica uniforms Sunday to honor the 1983 AL West championship team, also known as the "Winning Ugly" team. They'll wear the uniforms for every Sunday home game this season. Ventura was asked if he would display the replica jersey or wear a sweatshirt over it, as he often does. "Depends on the weather," he said.
- Through the first four games, all five AL Central teams are 2-2.