One More Quality Start From Reynaldo López and Dylan Cease
Last year, his first full year, Reynaldo López started 32 games and led the team with 19 quality starts. It was not particularly a great season, but for his first full season, it was solid. It made fans excited to see more. This season, however, it seemed López took a turn for the worst. By the end of June, he had an ERA of 6.12. Many fans wanted López demoted to Triple-A to find his groove again. Even NBC Sports reporter and long-time White Sox optimist Chuck Garfien called out López for his poor performance.
Many thought López turned things around recording two quality starts in August and again in September, his last three starts have been less than stellar. The furthest into a game he went in his last three starts was just 5.1 innings. The least amount of earned runs he gave up in those three starts was 5 runs. He brought the number of walks down in the month of September, but he is giving up a large number of hits (nine each of his last three starts).
With only 14 quality starts this season, it is clear López took a step backward. But ending the season on a positive note with his fifteenth could not only give him something to model his offseason but give him a boost of confidence going into the dead of winter.
The same goes for Dylan Cease. After a very strong minor league performance, many were upset he did not get the call up to the majors right out of spring. But Cease eventually forced the organization’s hand and made his debut July 3. He had a strong debut but has had difficulty recreating that success in other starts.
With his ERA consistently resting at between 5 and 6, it has not really been a strong rookie season for Cease. But there is a glimmer of light. In just 14 starts, 73 innings, he recorded 81 strikeouts. If seen in a full season, he could be sitting around 160-190 easily.
The most concerning aspect of Cease’s game right now is his control. In six of his 14 starts, he allowed three or more walks. He gets deep into counts, falls behind at-bats and runs his pitch count up. Giolito faced similar issues last season. If Cease could develop a better sense of control and command the strike zone like Giolito did this season, he will be in good shape.
Cease’s last start, Friday in Detroit, he pitched his third quality start. He went six innings allowing only run. He walked two and struck out eight. If Cease could end the season with another quality start, like Lopez, it will give him something to focus on and carry over into next season.