Pitching coach on Dylan Cease’s All-Star miss: ‘It’s a tough one to swallow’

Cease ranked first MLB in strikeouts (142) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.09) and was third in the AL in ERA (2.30).

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Dylan Cease (right) with White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz.

Dylan Cease (right) with White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

CLEVELAND — The sting of not being selected for the All-Star Game was still felt by Dylan Cease Tuesday when he pumped nine more strikeouts and 5 23 more scoreless innings against the Cleveland Guardians into his first half resume.

While it’s possible he becomes a late addition, the White Sox righthander will have one more start Sunday against the Twins before the game to show how big the oversight was.

“I feel really bad for him,” Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz said.

“It’s something I know he really wanted. If something does open up, I hope he’s considered. His numbers speak for themselves and everything he’s done this year. He’s one of the most exciting pitchers in baseball and deserves an opportunity to show what he can do at center stage. It’s a tough one to swallow.”

Through Tuesday, Cease ranked first in the majors in strikeouts (142) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.09) and was third in the American League in ERA (2.30). He’s on pace to break his own club single-season record of 12.28 strikeouts per nine innings set last season. He owns an 8-4 record over 18 starts.

Cease’s nine consecutive starts allowing one or fewer earned runs broke franchise marks held by Tommy John in 1968 and Jim Kaat in 1974-75. His 0.53 ERA since May 29 leads the majors.

“That was as filthy of stuff as we’ve seen in a while,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said after the Sox’ 7-0 victory Tuesday. “He’s got velocity, but the slider is just electric.”

Which is the crown jewel in Cease’s four-pitch mix.

“The slider is one of the best pitches in baseball,” Katz said. “It’s hard to think of anybody who has a better pitch than that in the game.”

So good that Cease wrote a poem about it.

“He read it to me,” Katz said. “And it’s great. It’s clever. He has a personality people don’t maybe realize but maybe start to realize a little more. He’s quite a character. He’s fun to be around.”

Colas ‘shocked’ by honor

Center fielder Oscar Colas has enjoyed an excellent first season of professional baseball in the U.S., complete with a recent promotion to Double-A Birmingham, but he didn’t see being chosen as the White Sox’ lone representative to play in the Futures Game Saturday in his near future.

“I was in shock,” Colas said on a video call Wednesday. “I was like, what? I honestly couldn’t believe it.”

Signed out of Cuba in January, Colas, 23, earned it by hitting .309/.366/.470 with seven homers in 60 games. Getting rid of his leg kick during spring training helped him to see the ball better, cut down on strikeouts, make more contact and better handle pitches on the inner half of the plate, he said.

While growing up in Cuba, Colas said he didn’t know much about the All-Star and Futures games.

“I’m going to be surrounded by the best players and prospects in the league,” he said. “It’s something that, wow, I want to share with my family. I’m going to call them and show them videos about how is everything over there.”

Broadcast news

Double-A Birmingham broadcaster Curt Bloom will make his Sox radio debut alongside Len Kasper July 24 vs. Cleveland on ESPN AM-1000 (Darrin Jackson is off). Connor McKnight, subbing for Jason Benetti, will call his first game for NBC Sports Chicago with Steve Stone that day.

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