CLEVELAND — A new season brings new hopes for the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians, who meet on Opening Day at Progressive Field in the first of many American League Central clashes.
The White Sox reloaded in the offseason, making a huge free-agent splash by signing slugger Adam Dunn. Dunn, who spent the first 10 years of his career in the National League, has clubbed at least 38 home runs in each of the last seven seasons.
That number could very well creep toward 50 in Dunn’s first year playing 81 games in the bandbox better known as U.S. Cellular Field on Chicago’s South Side.
Chicago also re-signed bopper Paul Konerko from last year’s 88-win second-place squad. A powerful lineup, combined with a formidable rotation that includes Opening Day starter Mark Buehrle — in addition to John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Edwin Jackson — has the White Sox positioned to reclaim the AL Central for the first time since 2008.
The Indians, who finished the ’10 campaign fourth in the division with a 69-93 record, are hopeful that a nucleus of Shin-Soo Choo and young phenom catcher Carlos Santana will help improve on an offense that ranked third-to-last in the American League with 646 runs last year.
The Tribe is also relying on star center fielder Grady Sizemore — who is beginning the season on the disabled list but expected to return soon — to return to the form that made him one of the game’s dynamic talents before microfracture surgery wiped out nearly his entire 2010 season.
Fausto Carmona starts for the Indians in today’s game, which is scheduled to start at 3:05 ET in Cleveland. Fans who want to catch the White Sox vs Indians can use MLB.TV.