Boy, oh, boy, was it the good Dylan Cease who fired against the Rockies in his final warmup for the regular season.
Cease gave up six hits in 5 1⁄3, including a solo homer to C.J. Cron in the second, but otherwise put on a display of everything Sox fans have been wishing for from him.
Cease chalked up 11 strikeouts, not only throwing two-thirds of his 85 pitches for strikes, but keeping almost all of those strikes off of the middle of the plate (I only remember one three-ball count, that in the fifth). His fast ball rode 97 mph-plus most of the game, venturing faster than 98 with regularity, and his breaking pitches got a lot of swings outside the zone.
At one point, it looked like he was going to be given an American League pitcher’s greatest wish as a reward: Due to fun and games with the DH slot, Cease was actually inserted into the cleanup spot in the order when the White Sox lost the DH, due up in the top of the sixth. Gameday said he was batting; alas, he wasn’t, but got pinch-hit for.
Thanks to the vagaries of spring training, though, Cease came back out to face one batter in the bottom of the sixth. He then gave way to Connor Sadzeck, who apparently missed the bus to Kannapolis and because people felt sorry for him, they let him pitch; there could be no other explanation. Sadzeck gave up a four-pitch walk, a stolen base, a runner-advancing grounder and a wild pitch to earn the 2-1 loss.
Somehow, he still didn’t make the day’s sad news list:
Oh, yes, the offense. Not much.
The Sox only managed five singles, though one apiece came from Luis Robert and José Abreu, who have been having their problems, so that’s good even though José’s was very gently hit. The only run came on Robert’s single and stolen base, two walks, and an Andrew Vaughn sacrifice fly on a 3-0 count. Vaughn also had a single, and neither embarrassed nor hurt himself in left field, so a big plus all around there.
Oh, yes, the White Sox’s latest inexplicable acquisition. Jake Lamb faced a lefty his first time up, which he should never be allowed to do, and struck out. He faced a righty the second time up, and provided a nice balance by striking out again.
The game only went seven to give everybody extra time to pack, and left the Sox with a 12-12-5 spring record. They’re now off to Anaheim, to start the contests that count with a four-game series against the Angels beginning Thursday night, playing in-between trips to Disneyland. (Just kidding, they’ll have to sneak into Disneyland — it’s closed for COVID.)
We’ll have a ridiculous amount of pre-opener coverage coming at you in the next couple of days: staff predictions tomorrow, pregame and postgame podcasts on Thursday, and more. Our regular season coverage kicks off with Brett Ballantini handling the live gamethread and late recap on Thursday.
Who was the White Sox MVP in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Rockies?
This poll is closed
Dylan Cease: 5 1⁄3 IP, 6 H, ER, 11 K, HR, WP
José Abreu: 1-for-2, BB, K
Luis Robert: 1-for-2, R, LOB, SB
Andrew Vaughn: 1-for-2, RBI, played LF
Yolbert Sánchez: pinch-ran for Abreu
Who was the White Sox Game Goat in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Rockies?
This poll is closed
Connor Sadzeck: 2⁄3 IP, ER, 2 BB, WP, L
Jake Lamb: 0-for-2, 2 K, LOB
Yasmani Grandal: 0-for-2, BB, K, PB