White Sox Win First Game of Season Behind Dylan Cease Strong Start

White Sox observations: Cease delivers strikeout stuff originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The White Sox evened up the series with the Tigers on Saturday, behind a strong outing from Dylan Cease and some timely hitting. The bullpen also got back on track after giving away two leads on Fridayー once in the eighth inning, and again in the ninth. But it wasn’t all sunshine for the South Siders, and not just because the weather was overcast with temperatures hovering around 39 degrees. The team lost yet another player to injury, this time A.J. Pollock, who left the game with hamstring tightness after hitting a single.


One day after asking the bullpen to cover five innings, Tony La Russa needed Cease to hold the Tigers at bay as best as he could, and Cease delivered. With an abbreviated spring, most teams have been transparent about capping starters’ pitch counts early in the year, and Cease was able to make it through five-plus innings on 79 pitches. He had his strikeout stuff on Saturday too, fanning eight batters in his limited work. Cease may have been able to go a little deeper into the game, but he ran into a little trouble in the fifth inning, with two walks.


On Friday, three different relievers were charged with earned runs. One day later, they redeemed themselves. Reynaldo Lopez worked around troubleー including an error that led to a Tigers runー and induced an important inning-ending double play. Bennett Sousa continued his impressive MLB debut with 1.1 spotless innings. And Aaron Bummer recovered from a rocky start to ninth after surrendering two runs in just 0.2 innings the day before. Everyone, take a big, deep breath.


The cold weather may be preventing the White Sox offense from fully busting out like many expect it will. But in the early goings, the Sox have shown a propensity for scoring with two outs. Over the first two games of the season, five of the nine total runs have been scored with two down. The man in the middle of it all has been Eloy Jiménez, who’s plated all three of his RBIs in those clutch situations. If the White Sox can keep up that trend they could frustrate opponents all summer, as nothing’s worse than giving up runs when you’re so close to getting off the field.

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