Cease makes the grade in White Sox's 8-3 romp over Rangers
School was back in session for Dylan Cease Friday night, and the Chicago White Sox's touted rookie did not do well in the first inning.
After throwing 32 pitches and giving up 3 runs on 2 hits and a walk -- Willie Calhoun gave the Rangers the early lead with a 3-run homer -- Cease deserved an 'F' for his wobbly early work.
The 23-year-old righty is familiar with getting burned by big innings as he adjusts to major-league hitters, but Cease has also shown a veteran knack for staying calm, settling down and finding cruise control.
He did it again in the Sox's 8-3 win over Texas at Guaranteed Rate Field, and the low-key Cease was almost bubbly after limiting the damage to the early 3 runs over 6 innings while piling up a career-high 9 strikeouts.
"It was A-plus tonight, it was really good," Cease said of his stuff. "I liked the shape of my off-speed, I was throwing it for strikes. The fastball was commanding pretty well and I had good velo(city). That's definitely my best start of the year today, besides that first inning."
The timing seemed bad, considering the Rangers' best starter, Lance Lynn, was Cease's mound opponent.
The White Sox's offense was up to the challenge, scoring 2 runs in the second inning and taking the lead with a 3-run fourth on RBI singles from Yolmer Sanchez and Tim Anderson sandwiched around Leury Garcia's run-scoring double.
"(Cease) came back and gave us some shutdown innings after we scored," manager Rick Renteria said. "He had a rough first, we scored some runs, he holds them, we scored some more runs, he holds them. He kept doing that throughout. It's a big push. You see, there's a confidence-builder in that particular outing today. He should be happy how he ended up redirecting himself and righting the ship."
Cease (3-6) was very happy, and he showed the ability to adjust when his command of the strike zone is off.
"I just found a feel," he said. "I started letting my body ride down the mound longer and it got me on track."
Once Cease gains more experience and starts eliminating big innings, he is really going to be a high-grade starter.
"It's really just staying with it and battling, no matter what happens," Cease said. "Obviously, I've been having those big innings, which can be really frustrating. But as long as I keep fighting, I'm getting later in the game. I'm just happy we won today."