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updated: 4/1/2013 5:28 AM

Never say never when it comes to White Sox

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  • Dayan Viciedo and the White Sox open their season Monday at home against the Kansas City Royals.

    Dayan Viciedo and the White Sox open their season Monday at home against the Kansas City Royals.
    Associated Press


I'll spare you my opening-day gush of excitement.

You know I'm thrilled. I know you're thrilled. We're together on this. It's time for baseball.

So, what to expect in 2013?

Well, since I've been hosting White Sox coverage on the flagship starting in 2006, I think we have been able to look realistically at most of the seasons going in with a large degree of uncertainty.

With the exception of 2006 and 2011 (both of those clubs inspired a wealth of preseason optimism), I believe most fans haven't really known what to expect from their beloved South Siders on a yearly basis.

This year isn't an outlier.

The truth is, given baseball's proclivity for unpredictability and the makeup of both the White Sox and the rest of the American League Central, I'm not really exactly sure what to expect.

In general, I'm not a predictions kind of person as it is, but I will truly not be stunned by any of the possible outcomes in '13.

You've heard throughout the last couple of winters that the division title will go through Detroit. This is still true.

Boasting one of the strongest lineups in the American League that feature two of the best hitters in the game going back to back and rarely missing a start (Prince Fielder has missed one game in four years; Miguel Cabrera has played at least 160 games in four of the last five seasons).

They've also got a sturdy rotation headlined by Cy Young winner and rich guy Justin Verlander.

Kansas City has improved a rotation that already dominated the Sox last season (only Boston pitched them better), and the Royals' young lineup has another year of maturity.

I can't see much reason why the Royals will be less of a nuisance to the Sox, whose hitters must find a way to keep from being as perplexed by the pitching as they have been. Righty-on-righty matchups have been particularly troublesome.

Cleveland spent some money during the off-season and has upgraded, though I don't think it's enough to win the division. Just enough to cause a disturbance.

Minnesota Twins? I wouldn't worry about that little guy.

All you really want to know is if the White Sox can win the Central this year. The answer is, even though they are rightfully not the favorite, yes, they could win the division.

And here's how: pitching.

Though the Sox do not have Verlander, they still have a solid rotation, one through five, with a potential Cy Young in Chris Sale and a former Cy Young in Jake Peavy.

They also hold one of the stronger, younger bullpens in the division. Combining a firm pitching staff with good defense should save quite a few runs, and if they stay healthy, as they have so remarkably over the last several years, that could be their opening at the title.

What that means is the White Sox probably will have to win their share of close ballgames if they want to have a shot at the postseason.

I don't know how 2013 will develop, but what I know for sure is I'm ready to get this thing moving. It's time.

• Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at Subscriber Total Access members can email him questions each week via our online link.

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