Chicago White Sox: 1 pitcher is a big key to 2021 playoff success

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago White Sox pitching rotation for the first round of the playoffs is pretty set for the first two starters. Barring any unforeseen issues, Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito will pick up the ball for games one and two. What about Carlos Rodon for game three?

Rodon’s recent arm issues and have clouded the waters of what the White Sox hoped would be a set-in-stone top three pitchers for the postseason. Rodon is scheduled to take the mound this week against the Reds in what would be his final start of the regular season. That could hinge on the outcome of Sunday’s bullpen session.

If Rodon is not ready for the Divisional Series, Dylan Cease could be the likely third starter. Dallas Keuchel has been ineffective this season and there are questions as to whether or not he will be on the playoff roster. Combine that with the questions surrounding Rodon’s health and Cease could find himself going from the staff’s number five starter to the number three by default.

Should that be the case for Dylan Cease, who suffered a bruise to his right triceps on Friday and is hoping to make one more start prior to the playoffs, could be a key to the White Sox title hopes. Cease has performed well this season, posting a 13-7 record so far with an earned run average of 3.95.

Dylan Cease has been impressive for the Chicago White Sox during this season.

However, the most impressive thing about Dylan Cease is his strikeout total of 221, which is third in the American League and sixth overall in the majors. Ironically, hitters have an average of .221 against him.

While Cease has been dominant at times, he has also had moments he has to avoid going forward. In five starts, he gave up five or more earned runs while he had eight games of three earned runs. In those 13 games, he managed to go six innings only once. Conversely, he has posted 18 starts of two or fewer earned runs and went six or more innings nine times in that period.

The possibility exists that a healthy Rodon could move Cease to the bullpen in the first round. If the White Sox were to face elimination in game four, manager Tony LaRussa could opt to come back with either Lynn or Giolito, depending on who starts game one.

Then, they would use Cease in relief while saving Rodon for game five. If the White Sox find themselves up two games to one, Cease could take the ball for game four, thus buying a day to rest the top three starters for game five if needed.

Cease does have playoff experience having pitched one inning of relief in last year’s Wild Card Series game three loss to the Oakland A’s. That appearance will pale in comparison to this year as his responsibility will be much greater this time around.

The White Sox actually beat a Cleveland team. light. Related Story