Dylan Cease was great for the Chicago White Sox in August of 2020.
If there is one good, positive thing to take away from Cease’s first two major league seasons, it is how dominant he was throughout August 2020. On August 2, Cease started his second game of the season with an ERA of 15.43. After allowing only two earned runs in six innings against the Royals, it dropped to 6.48. In that game against Kansas City, Cease struck out four and allowed a home run, but just five hits.
After five scoreless innings against Cleveland, along with four more strikeouts on just two hits in his next start, he brought his ERA down to 4.05. He did walk five, which displays his need to fix his command.
Despite losing, Cease recalled August 23 against the Cubs to be “his best start” on the White Sox Talk Podcast with Chuck Garfein. He went six innings allowing two earned runs on four hits. He struck out five but walked three. The two he gave up came with one out in the sixth after a Javier Baez double base hit and Kyle Schwarber’s home run, prior to striking Anthony Rizzo out.
Cease would give up six earned runs in his remaining four games in August. After his last start in the month, the 29th against the Royals where he allowed one earned through 4.1, Cease had brought his ERA down to 3.00.
However, things took a turn for the worse. After a less than ideal September, Cease finished with an ERA of 4.01. His cold stretch led to Dane Dunning getting the game 3 start in Oakland which would have been Cease’s job otherwise.
Looking forward, Cease is lucky to have a 7-10 game stretch where he was actually dominant. He has the potential and has the nasty stuff, he just needs some tweaking and guidance in the right direction to unlock it all. Cease has a frame of reference of a time when he was dominant so he can build off of it instead of starting from scratch as Giolito did.