In this offensive environment, three runs feels like six.
When Dylan Cease is pitching like this, three runs feels like 30.
Whether you’ve been watching Cease for a day or a decade, you’ve never seen him better. He spearheaded a shutout with seven scoreless innings, over which he struck out 11 while just allowing a double and a HBP. Both baserunners reached to start innings, but neither advanced past second.
Cease overpowered the Angels with a fastball-first approach, but not necessarily first fastballs. He got only 11 swinging strikes on 93 pitches, but the sequencing stumped the Anaheim lineup for 20 called strikes.
My favorite sequence was this three-pitch strikeout of Andrew Velazquez in the third inning:
Two curves taken for strikes in impossible locations, and then a high fastball in a perfect spot.
Cease also struck out Mike Trout all three times they met, and Liam Hendriks finished the job with one of his own. A day after Trout reached base all five times against Dallas Keuchel and Co., the White Sox’s two best strikeout pitchers slapped a golden sombrero on him.
Cease had 10 strikeouts through five innings before only fanning one hitter over his last two innings. His breaking stuff showed a little bit of the dulling that he encountered in the middle innings against the Royals his last time out, but at least his misses were off the plate, and the outs remained routine.
Hendriks looked reinvigorated as well, striking out the side on 12 pitches. He, Kendall Graveman and Cease combined for 15 strikeouts and zero walks over nine innings, and it all made a so-so performance by the White Sox offense play up.
The Sox picked up where they left off against Michael Lorenzen in the ninth inning on Sunday, jumping on Patrick Sandoval for his first two earned runs of the season. Tim Anderson and Luis Robert led off with singles, and a Jo Adell bobble allowed them to advance 90 feet on the second of those base hits. Two productive outs brought them home, and the White Sox led 2-0.
The spigot dried to a trickle afterward, as Sandoval did a better job of missing barrels. Fortunately the Sox were able to cash in one more run to take the game out of bloop-and-a-blast range. José Abreu started the sixth with a single through the left side, and just when it looked like he’d be stranded there, Adam Engel smashed a double inside third base with two outs. The ball checked up along the side wall, with Adell taking a very cautious route to corraling it, and the extra steps allowed Abreu to score all the way from first on a successful send by Joe McEwing.
The Angels didn’t bring the tying run to the plate afterward. In fact, they never had two baserunners in an inning. The White Sox know what that looks like, and it’s better to watch it than to live it.
*Cease finished with a game score of 86, topping his previous best of 80 back in his seven-inning shutout of the Tigers back in April 2021.
*The Angels hadn’t been shut out all season, but the Sox managed to do it twice to them in four games.
*Robert went 3-for-4 from the second spot.
Record: 9-13 | Box score | Statcast
Huge win, gets them a split in a series against a greatly improved Angels team. Heck of a lot better than losing 3 of 4. Huge for Cease, damn impressive outing. Hopefully Kopech will continue his own early season success tomorrow.
I know they’ve played a ton of crappy baseball, but things might be starting to get better. Maybe.
light at the end of the tunnel?
Pitching was great today (especially Cease) but scoring 3 runs is below the Sox dreadful season average. I’m waiting until scoring is more plentiful and consistent before I’ll feel better about things.
They hit the ball pretty hard today, and 3BB to 4K is promising. I’m mostly encouraged for future improvement by Liam looking like himself again tho
When was the last time this team had a good offensive game? I don’t think they’ve had one since the first week. They’re not really even hitting lefties right now. If they don’t get great a pitching performance , they lose.
When Yoan and Vaughn get back, they need to drop Abreu and Grandal to 5/6. Grandal looks really lame right now. It should be Timmy, Yoan, Robert then Vaughn. Those are their 4 best hitters.
As cynical as I can be, and as miffed as I still am that they didn’t address their issues against right handed pitching unless you count Pollock, even I know that they are not THIS bad. Yoan will be a big addition. With their slumps, if even one guy comes out of it, others will follow.
I’m not sure they won’t keep struggling against RHP too often, but they will still score more runs than they have. Would be almost impossible not to if they get healthy. If the weather ever gets above 60!
If Sheets doesn’t prove to be an answer, some kind of left handed bat that can get some DH time should still be on the wishlist
Anything they did not address this winter remains on the wishlist. I would have really, really liked Schwarber, even if he is not a plus defender.
Sheets is not the answer. They could have had Brad Miller for less than what they spent on Harrison. He’s hit righties well his entire career. Schwarber would have been excellent. They have substandard ownership, GM and manager. Not a good combination.
Luckily, Robinson Cano just became available!!!!!😦
The case for Grandal is quite ominous right now. For a guy who gets proportionately more of his value from power than practically anyone, I’d expect the dead ball will not be his friend. Even the walks we all expect him to regress into will re-regress back as pitchers get more confidence to throw him strikes.
It is nice to see a member of the 2022 White Sox performing at the peak of his abilities. May he inspire his teammates, and his team’s management.
But enough about Josh Harrison.
I’d always been a bit low on Cease because his lack of efficiency and consistency were shortcomings I didn’t know if he could overcome. But if he can keep this up, he’s in top-10 pitcher territory.
I picked a good day to call off sick from work.
Adell is making me appreciate Eloy’s “adequacy” in LF.
The hype surrounding Adell when he was a prospect was off the chart. I don’t see it.
The Angels broadcast said that Cease “looked like he belonged in a haberdashery.” Spot on!
Couldn’t 100% focus on the game while at work but from what I saw, it appeared that Robert was more locked in this game than he has been which was good to see. I like having him batting 2nd but we really can’t have our 1-2 hitters both ending ABs after 1 or 2 pitches if we want to punish bullpens like we did last year.
Absolutely right. Which is why we need Yoan back in the 2-spot. Then Robert and Vaughn 3/4. Those 4 need to get the most at bats.
Game vs Cubs tonight supposed to be rainy and 44 degrees. It’s May, so sick of this crappy weather!