Chicago White Sox fans have been waiting for a Dylan Cease breakout performance and they finally got it. After failing to make it through five innings in his first four starts of 2021, Cease tossed a seven inning complete game courtesy of the new double header rules.
The Chicago White Sox needs Dylan Cease to be this good going forward.
Regardless of the number of innings, it will still go in the books as Dylan Cease’s first compete game and shutout. He said after the broadcast that he has never thrown a shutout ever at any level. It has to be an especially good feeling for Cease after many fans were calling for him to be replaced by Micheal Kopech in the rotation.
He had it going for him as he only allowed three hits, no runs, no walks and nine strikeouts. His fastball command was much improved and he pounded the strike zone with 66 of his 91 pitches.
Cease has had problems in the first inning his entire career and this season has been no different. His struggles in the first inning have resulted in high pitch counts and early exits. It looked like this night would be much of the same when Harold Castro and Jeimer Candelario each singled to put runners on first and second. Cease worked around the traffic and was able to get Jonathan Scoop to fly out to exit the inning unscathed.
It was smooth sailing from there. The Tigers would only be able to muster one more base runner the rest of the night. He baffled hitters with his curveball, keep them off balance with his slider, and blew them away with his fastball. He had a total of 16 swinging strikes on the night. Even more impressive was his 53 percent whiff rate on his slider and a 32 percent whiff rate overall.
It helped that the White Sox erupted for 11 runs so Cease could afford to attack the Tigers lineup. The key to his success was first pitch spikes. He threw 71 percent strikes on his first pitch to opposing hitters.
Another interesting nugget is that Cease is 6-0 with a 2.29 ERA over six career starts against the Tigers. One of these starts included his major league debut in 2019. He is the first White Sox pitcher to win each of his first six starts vs a single opponent since Mark Buehrle won seven in a row vs. the Texas Rangers from 2001-2005. We all know what happened in 2005.
This was easily Dylan Cease’s best game in a White Sox uniform. It was also the type of start the White Sox were envisioning when they traded for him back in 2017. It is another step in the right direction for the talented right hander. Don’t look now but his ERA is now 2.96 on the season. The only one that can hurt Dylan Cease is himself. When he can locate his fastball and avoid walks he is nearly untouchable on the mound.