Houston Astros right-hander Jose Urquidy will oppose the visiting Chicago White Sox on Saturday, making the first of what he hopes will be many starts this season.
After detouring to the bullpen during Houston's run to the 2022 World Series title, Urquidy isn't eager to go back.
"That's my priority. That's my goal," Urquidy said. "Be in the rotation, have a full workload and pitch every five days."
Urquidy will aim to help Houston secure at least a split of the season-opening series against Chicago.
After edging the defending World Series champions 3-2 on Opening Day Thursday, the White Sox were unable to hold a three-run lead in the late stages Friday. Houston rallied for a 6-3 victory, scoring each of its runs across the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Yordan Alvarez provided the key hit, delivering a go-ahead, three-run triple in the seventh inning to give Houston a 5-3 advantage.
Urquidy went 13-8 with a 3.94 ERA in 29 appearances last season, including 28 starts. He faded as the season wore on, however, pitching to a 5.01 ERA in four September starts.
A more diligent offseason training regimen helped Urquidy reset after he contributed out of the bullpen in October.
"Really taking care of my food and sleeping well and doing the right things," he said. "Working hard, doing my workouts, it helps me feel great."
Coming off his second straight 11-9 season, right-hander Lucas Giolito is slated to get the start for the White Sox. Giolito pitched to a 4.90 ERA in 30 starts last season, nearly 1 1/2 runs higher than his 3.53 mark in 31 starts in 2021.
It was a disappointing 2022 season for the White Sox overall, as the team underachieved on the heels of back-to-back postseason appearances.
Giolito is eager for a bounce-back season, and his first opportunity to that end comes against an Astros team that traditionally has hit him well.
Giolito lost his both of his starts against Houston last season, allowing 15 runs on 15 hits in eight innings. In seven career starts vs. the Astros, Giolito is 2-5 with a 6.21 ERA, having served up seven home runs in 42 innings.
The White Sox have benefited from strong starts by some of their offensive stalwarts. Leadoff man Tim Anderson has produced two hits and a walk in each of the first two contests, Yoan Moncada collected three hits on Friday, and Eloy Jimenez contributed two RBIs doubles in the second game to plate both of the game's first two runs.
"We're 1-1. That's it," Chicago right-hander Lance Lynn said. "It's two games in. Everybody is playing hard and that's all you ask."
Urquidy is 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA in two career starts against Chicago, with 10 hits allowed and nine strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings. He faced the White Sox once last season, taking a no-decision after permitting one run and six hits in 7 2/3 innings during a home outing on Aug. 15. Urquidy didn't issue a walk while registering four strikeouts.
--Field Level Media