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HOUSTON – For the 2021 regular season, he was the team’s top starter and earned a spot in the All-Star Game as arguably the ace of the staff.

So it wasn’t much of a surprise when White Sox manager Tony La Russa announced who would start the first game of the postseason for the team on Thursday.

Lance Lynn will be the White Sox Game 1 starter against the Astros on Thursday afternoon at 3:07 PM at Minute Maid Park following a strong regular season. Lucas Giolito, who started Game 1 of the Wild Card Series against the Athletics in 2020, will get the start in Game 2.

The starter for Game 3, the first postseason game at Guaranteed Rate Field in 13 years, will be decided later in the week. Dylan Cease and Carlos Rodon figure to be the two in contention to make that start.

Lynn told reporters on Wednesday that he found out that he would be the Game 1 starter last week. By going in Game 1, it would give the veteran pitcher the shot to make a second start in the series should it go to a fifth game.

In his first year with the White Sox after being acquired in a trade with the Rangers, Lynn was 11-6 with a 2.69 ERA in 28 starts this season. He was named to the American League All-Star team in July, the second of a career that began under La Russa in St. Louis in 2011.

Lynn did have a stint on the IL with knee inflammation in late August after his ERA was at 4.67 in that month and returned after missing one start. In his final outing of the regular season, the pitcher went five innings against the Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field, allowing one run on four hits with four strikeouts compared to just one walk.

Giolito was 11-9 with a 3.53 ERA in 31 starts this season but steadily improved as the season went along, perhaps garnering consideration to be the Game 1 starter as he was a year earlier. He allowed two or fewer earned runs in eight of his nine starts and allowed zero or one in five of those starts.