It was only the second game of the season.
But with innings to fill due to injuries to other members of the rotation, the Chicago White Sox needed a performance like the one Dylan Cease delivered on Saturday.
The right-hander allowed a run to two hits with eight strikeouts and three walks in more than five innings as the Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 5-2 at Comerica Park by 17,469.
“All of us as starters take that pride and that chip on our shoulders to eat as many innings as possible,” Cease said. “It’s good because (the Tigers) won in a good way (Friday) but I think we showed we’re still here.”
Cease threw 79 pitches and was eliminated after allowing Austin Meadows to start the sixth inning with a single.
“You lose a game like (Friday, 5-4 after Javier Báez’s decisive goal in the ninth), the momentum is always the starting pitcher, and he was just outstanding,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said of Cease.
“They have a nice club over there and it was rock solid. In command of all his pitches, and when he got a little off-beat, he immediately got back to it and started making this mid-season (in 2021). A quick learner.”
Cease retired eight straight times from last of the second inning to first of the fifth inning. He had a streak of four straight strikeouts, three of which came in the fourth and one early in the fifth.
“I think what happens is you’ve gone a couple of innings to feel your body and all that, so it can be easier to get into a rhythm (later on),” Cease said. “Hopefully I can start with that from the beginning (of the game).”
After beating Jonathan Schoop to start the fifth, Cease walked the next two batters. He rebounded by beating Akil Baddoo and getting Robbie Grossman to put himself first.
“Just keep my focus and just keep doing what I can to execute it,” Cease said as he came out of the fifth.
Cease lined up for a rotation that dealt with injuries to Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito. Additionally, Michael Kopech’s innings will be monitored early as he transitions from the bullpen back to the rotation. Kopech starts the series finale on Sunday.
“The way you build up a year, every time your starter can go out like that, it’s up to other guys now,” La Russa said. “Michael will get his chance (Sunday), Dallas (Keuchel) will get his chance.
“The way Dylan served was just amazing, just like in spring training. He gives them a lot of different pitches to deal with.”
As in Friday’s opener, the Sox jumped forward in the first with a two-out hit by Eloy Jiménez. On Friday it was an RBI single. On Saturday it was a two-run single.
Yasmani Grandal’s double homer in the sixth made it 4-0.
But just like on Friday, a Sox player retired early due to an injury. On Friday, it was Giolito after four innings due to abdominal strains in his left side. La Russa said an optimistic timeline would mean that Giolito will miss two starts.
On Saturday, right fielder AJ Pollock went out in the third inning with a strain in his right hamstring. Pollock jumped to the center, turning first and grimacing as he walked back to the bag and briefly grabbed the back of his right leg.
“Honestly, I thought it was going to be a safe double,” Pollock said. “I felt like I was banging the crap out of the ball and I made a turn and it looked like he was going to clip it and it was kind of on that slowdown and I felt it and I went into the Went on break, came back and I definitely felt a bit of a hold. And Tony came out and it seemed like the smart move was just getting out of there.”
Pollock, who was due to go on paternity leave in the coming days, said this hamstring problem should be a “short-term” situation.
Andrew Vaughn replaced Pollock and had an RBI single in the seventh to give the Sox a 5-2 lead. Josh Harrison – going 2-on-4 with a triple and a double – scored on Vaughn’s strike.
Reliever Bennett Sousa continued to impress early, batting one of 1⅓ innings scoreless. José Ruiz prompted a double play to finish in eighth place.
With closer Liam Hendriks unavailable after throwing 33 pitches on Friday, Aaron Bummer was called out for the save opportunity. The left-hander, who was burdened with two runs in two-thirds of an inning on Friday, gave up consecutive singles to start the ninth. He knocked out the next three to seal the team’s first win of 2022.
“I don’t really like the path I’m on, that every ball in the game is a hit and every out is a strikeout, but we’re taking it,” Bummer said. “Baseball, especially as a helper, gets hit a lot. It depends on how you stand up and how you react to a punch in the mouth.
“I thought today would be a pretty good day to come back after (Friday) and do some pitches and get the work done.”
https://www.twincities.com/2022/04/09/dylan-cease-helps-the-chicago-white-sox-bounce-back-striking-out-8-in-a-5-2-win-against-the-detroit-tigers/ Dylan Cease is helping the Chicago White Sox rebound by hitting 8 in a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers – Twin Cities