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The night started off well for Dylan Cease. Pitching around Jose Abreu’s fielding error, Cease was able to overcome a defensive miscue by getting Eddie Rosario to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. All on just 13 pitches.
The good feelings didn’t last. Just like in the last start against Tampa, Cease got into trouble in the second inning. After freezing Miguel Sano on an inside fastball for a strikeout looking, Luis Arraez and Marwin Gonzalez hit back-to-back singles. In a battle against Jason Castro, Cease’s fastball on 3-2 was too high, and the bases were loaded for Byron Buxton.
Sitting on a fastball, Buxton got too underneath a 2-1 pitch and hit a high fly ball into shallow left field. A too familiar sight this season, Jon Jay and Adam Engel collided with one another, with Jay holding on to make the catch. As Jay looked back at Engel after making contact, Arraez tagged up from third to score the game’s first run.
Cease was visibly frustrated by the poor defensive play, and Max Kepler didn’t make things better. On a 3-2 curveball, Kepler smashed it into the right-field bleachers for his 27th home run of the season, and the 200th home run hit by the Twins in 2019. After a mound visit from Don Cooper, Cease allowed two more singles before eventually getting out of the inning when Sano grounded out. After two innings, Cease was already at 57 pitches, giving up six hits and two walks.
A silver lining for Cease is his ability to bounce back within a start. Retiring eight straight batters, Cease was able to get through five innings striking out Gonzalez on a 96-mph fastball. Cease’s night ended going 5 IP 7 H 5 ER 3 BB 4 K on 98 pitches.
Looking at Cease’s last two starts:
Second Inning: 2 IP 9 H 9 R 3 BB 2 K
Every other inning: 8 IP 1 H 0 R 4 BB 6 K
The White Sox offense had a chance in the first inning. Leury Garcia hit a leadoff single and stole second base. Jay attempted to bunt for a hit, but with his hip issues didn’t have the speed to beat Sano’s arm. Garcia moved 90 feet up to third and in a prime spot for Abreu to drive in the game’s first run. Twins starting pitcher Michael Pineda had other ideas as he struck out Abreu for the second out, and on a first-pitch changeup, Yoan Moncada hit a line drive but right at Kepler for the third out.
White Sox hitters had better luck in the third inning. On full counts, Yolmer Sanchez led things off with a single and would come around to score on Adam Engel’s second home run of the season.
There was a chance for more damage. Garcia singled, and Jay reached on an error by Arraez. With no outs, Abreu had an opportunity to drive in more runs but instead grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Moncada walked on four straight pitches, but Goins flew out to left field ending the threat. The two runs were all the offense could muster for the evening as they have only scored six runs in the last four games.
White Sox have lost 12 of their last 15 games.