Dylan Cease KO’d in second inning; White Sox drubbed by Rangers

Seby Zavala’s homer stopped their scoreless-innings streak at 26. The Sox fell a season-low 23 games under .500.

SHARE Dylan Cease KO’d in second inning; White Sox drubbed by Rangers
White Sox starter Dylan Cease didn’t finish the second inning Wednesday.

White Sox starter Dylan Cease didn’t finish the second inning Wednesday.

Tony Gutierrez/AP

ARLINGTON, Texas — One day after anxiously waiting for the trade deadline to pass, Dylan Cease, still wearing a White Sox uniform, looked nothing like the 2022 Cy Young runner-up contending teams were inquiring about to bolster their rotations.

Needing 79 pitches to get through 1⅔ innings, Cease allowed seven runs and seven hits and walked three against the Rangers at Globe Life Field. He struck out one batter, and threw 45 pitches in the second inning before manager Pedro Grifol pulled him with two outs.

Meanwhile, former Sox right-hander Dane Dunning extended the Sox’ scoreless streak to 26 innings by pitching 7⅔ innings of one-run ball Wednesday. Dunning, 0-3 with a 6.10 ERA in his previous three starts, retired 21 batters in a row before Seby Zavala homered with two outs in the eighth inning of an 11-1 loss. The Sox had four hits.

“We just have to do it more consistently because coming to the field when you’re losing every day, it really [stinks],” Zavala said. “We have to figure it out.”

The rout came a day or so after the front office officially raised a white flag on the season and their failed rebuild that began with two big trades in 2016, one of them bringing Dunning, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez from the Nationals for outfielder Adam Eaton. Dunning was traded to the Rangers for Lance Lynn in December 2020. Lynn was sent to the Dodgers before the deadline with reliever Joe Kelly. Giolito and Lopez were traded to the Angels.

The Sox were known to be listening to offers for Cease, another key piece acquired in a rebuild trade with the Cubs, and asking for a hefty return — he’s under club contract control through 2025.

“It was just kind of a wait-and-see moment,” Cease said Tuesday night after the deadline passed.

“The unknown of it is kind of interesting.”

On Wednesday, Cease said he felt focused, though.

“So I don’t think that affected me in any way,” he said. “It was a rough one. Not enough strikes, not enough execution, and they did a good job of hitting it.”

Grifol said he didn’t believe having seven players leave in trades affected the team.

“If you’re not executing because you’re thinking about a trade deadline or what happened or what didn’t happen, shame on you,” Grifol said.

Cease hasn’t been the same pitcher he was last year, with velocity numbers a mile per hour down on average on his fastball, curve and slider. He was sixth in the American League in strikeouts per nine innings going in at 10.78, but his ERA climbed from 4.15 to 4.61. Against the Rangers, his command was poor, and his stuff wasn’t the best, either.

The last time the Sox (43-66) were at least 23 games below .500 (a season low) was the final day of the 2018 season when they were 62-100.

The loss to the Rangers (62-46) was their ninth in 11 games.

Grifol was ejected by plate umpire Adam Hamari after the second inning, his fourth heave-ho this season.

“He missed a couple of pitches,” Grifol said. “He feels he was calling a good game, and I felt he was calling a bad game. Pretty simple.”

This and that

Outfielder Trayce Thompson, acquired from the Dodgers in the Lynn/Kelly trade, will be activated Thursday. Thompson joined the team in Texas on Wednesday.

† Right-hander Jimmy Lambert was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte.

The Latest
The man suffered trauma to the body and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 38-year-old was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center and pronounced dead.
The city said the proposed route raised safety concerns and responded with an alternate route.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court on Friday and accuses the city of suppressing speech criticizing the government during the high-profile event.
Her giggly, German-accented voice, coupled with her 4-foot-7 frame, made her an unlikely looking — and sounding — outlet for “sexual literacy.”