Who’da thunk it? Fresh off seven straight losses, including four games of humiliation against lowly Kansas City, the White Sox could possibly pull off a swe- — no, hold it, not the swe- word you were thinking of — too much of a jinx chance. Uh, could possibly pull off a sweet potato? No, that’s ridiculous. A swelter? No, the weather broke.
Got it — the White Sox could possibly pull off a sweatshirt in Tampa Bay. No jinx chance there.
After two big wins against the 56-45 Rays, the White Sox could head home on a three-game win- — no, jinx again, better not say that. To be safe, call it a three-game window streak. All they need is a vic- — dang, another jinx possibility. Let’s say all they need is a victrola this afternoon. That’ll work — everybody needs a victrola.
Trying to get that victrola will be Dylan Cease, making his third major league start, with the grades on the first two definitely Cease. Maybe even a C-minus in there.
All Cease has to do is outpitch current Cy Young holder Blake Snell. Lefty Snell has had a shaky year, with a really bad stretch in June, but he’s coming off three straight strong outings.
So far, Dylan has pitched 11 innings and given up nine runs, seven earned, for game scores of 49 and 42 and an ERA of 5.73. To be fair, in the second game he would have gotten better defensive support if the White Sox had just went into the stands and handed mitts to the first eight fans wearing Sox jerseys. And Cease did get better as the game went on.
Those two games were against really bad teams — Detroit and K.C. — but while Tampa Bay is a much better team overall, it’s not great on the offensive side, so the challenge shouldn’t much greater. Damn! I let that jinx creep in.
The results so far have to be a disappointment to those who saw Cease as the Second Coming of Walter Johnson, but give hope to those who saw his terrible June in Charlotte as a big question mark about his future. With a little luck, third time will prove the charm. especially if the Rays continue to try to hit with pool noodles instead of baseball bats.
While Cease won’t have the hitting of Eloy Jiménez or Tim Anderson behind him, the absence of Eloy should mean a much stronger outfield defense, thanks to Adam Engel’s presence:
The Rays will try to break a five-game losing streak with a lineup missing centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier, who went on the IL today with a thumb problem:
The weather inside Tropicana Dome should be pleasantly air-conditioned, with little chance of precipitation. Game time, 12:10 Central. NBC Sports on the idiot box, WGN-720 on the boombox.
Made it through the Gamethread without a single Cease pun I had ever used before!!!