The White Sox need Dylan Cease to step up. While their starting pitching in the last 14 games has been more than sound with an ERA of 2.53, two go-to starting pitchers probably won’t be enough to carry them to the postseason.
And if they get there, they’re likely going to need at least three to advance, something they haven’t done since they won the World Series in 2005.
Cease got a thumbs up from his teammates Wednesday after allowing one earned run in six innings in a 7-5 victory against the Tigers. Cease has better stuff than 1-2 starters Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel, but in his second full season he is striving for the consistency that could put his name in the same conversation. He has allowed two runs or less in his last three starts after a dud in his first outing of 2020.
“Unfortunately, I did let those unearned runs score, but at the end of the day I was able to come back, threw strikes, didn’t give up any free passes, and kept us in the ballgame and the offense picked me up,” Cease said. “Happy with that.”
Cease struck out five and walked none, lowering his ERA to 3.26. This was his first start of six innings or more without a walk.
Four unearned runs were chalked up against him, though, because of a passed ball charged to catcher James McCann on a dropped third strike with Victor Reyes at bat in the fourth. Cease’s fastball hit McCann, who appeared to be expecting a breaking pitch, squarely on his mask.
Cease then struck out Harold Castro, who would have been the third out before Grayson Greiner hit a two-out, two-run double that tied the game at 3, and Willi Castro followed with a two-run homer.
Ailing pitcher updates
Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (shoulder) likely will pitch two innings in a simulated game in Schaumburg later this week, manager Rick Renteria said. Left-hander Carlos Rodon (shoulder) still is limited to playing catch. Aaron Bummer (biceps) is “loosening up” and receiving treatment.
The Sox still don’t know who the opposing starting pitcher will be when they open a seven-game homestand against the Cardinals. It likely will be an opener, which is status quo for any game scheduled against the Cardinals who have not played since July 29 because of multiple positive coronavirus tests.
“Yeah, really nobody knows right?” Renteria said. “They’ve been down for a while. We don’t know who’s on the staff in terms of players. We have to navigate and keep it fluid until we have a better understanding of who is going to be there and then we will make our decision.”
This and that
Third baseman Yoan Moncada, who has been dealing with unspecified soreness and fatigue, got the day off Wednesday afternoon.
• Left fielder Eloy Jimenez fell over the side wall and into the net after chasing down a foul fly ball, a sight remarkably reminiscent of his misplay on Christian Yelich’s inside-the-park homer last week. Jimenez sat in the net for several moments smiling.
• Tim Anderson (4-for-5, homer, triple) was in the prone position in the dugout during the eighth inning. “I had 4-for-5 today,” Anderson said. “I was just taking a little break.”