LaMond Pope of the Chicago Tribune previewed the 2023 White Sox season on “9 Good Minutes” from WGN News Now.

HOUSTON — It’s the start of something new for the club in more ways than one as they face the reigning World Series champions to open the 2023 season.

For one, the White Sox get a fresh start after a frustrating 2022 campaign where they fell short of their big goals coming into the season, finishing 81-81 and out of the playoffs.

At the same time, they have new leadership in the dugout, as Pedro Grifol takes over for Tony La Russa after he resigned due to health concerns last October.

The chance to make this fresh start a successful one starts on Thursday evening in Houston as the White Sox take on the Astros at 6 p.m. at Minute Maid Park on Opening Day. It’s a difficult challenge for the club as they take on the reigning champions to start a three-game series that is completely sold out.

Here are a few things to know ahead of the opener.

On the road again

For a third-straight year, the White Sox will open up their season away from Guaranteed Rate Field as they face the Astros in Houston.

It hasn’t gone well when they’ve opened on the road recently as the team has lost three straight (2019, 2021, 2022) and 9 of their last 14. Their last Opening Day win away from home came in 2018 – a 14-7 win over the Royals in Kansas City.

Overall, the White Sox are 62-60 on Opening Day with a 33-35 record on the road.

Dylan Cease
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The Lineup for Game No. 1

For the first time in his career, Dylan Cease takes the mound for an Opening Day after his best season so far in the major leagues in 2022 when he was a Cy Young Finalist with a 14-8 record and a 2.20 ERA.

Here is the lineup that he’ll take the field with on Thursday evening.

  1. Tim Anderson – Shortsop
  2. Luis Robert – Centerfield
  3. Andrew Vaughn – First Base
  4. Eloy Jimenez – Designated Hitter
  5. Yoan Moncada – Third Base
  6. Andrew Benintendi – Left Field
  7. Yasmani Grandal – Catcher
  8. Elvis Andrus – Second Base
  9. Romy Gonzalez – Right Field

Gonzalez is the first to get the call in right field, one of the main positions that were up for competition in the spring. Rookie Oscar Colas along with Jimenez are expected to see some time in that positive early in the year.

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Pedro gets his shot

A number of eyes will be on Grifol as he takes the first MLB managerial job of his career after serving as a coach in a few roles with the Kansas City Royals since 2013. He also was a coach for the Mariners in 2010 as well.

Grifol had two stints as a minor league manager in the Seattle organization and two in winter ball as well, but this will be his greatest challenge to date.

During his introductory news conference and a few times after that, he mentioned that it was his dream of his to be a big league manager, and he finally gets that chance in 2023. Many are wondering if Grifol can provide a spark to a core that lost momentum after back-to-back playoff appearances in 2020 and 2021.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Perhaps it’s fitting that the first game that Jose Abreu plays in the major leagues outside of Chicago will be against the White Sox.

The best player for the franchise over the last decade is now beginning the second chapter of his career in Houston after signing a three-year, $58 million contract with the Astros this offseason.

Abreu will bat fourth in the lineup and play first base on Thursday night.