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Cease’s Start: The Wheels Came Off, the Car Careened Into a Ditch, and Burst Into Flames

The White Sox battle back after Dylan’s dud, retake the lead, then lose to the Red Sox in extras

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals
Sometimes the third inning comes at you fast, Dylan Cease.
Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

I just came here to recap a game, and I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now.

The Chicago White Sox (81-61) fell to the Boston Red Sox (81-63) in a wild, 9-8 loss in front of a full house tonight.

Listen, we need to talk about it.

We need to talk about the top of the third inning.

Let’s just rip it off like a Band-Aid — it’ll hurt a lot at first, but then we can begin to heal.

Dylan Cease was lights-out for the first two innings, quickly logging his 200th strikeout of the season. But that’s where the feel-good storyline ends for Cease. The wheels came off in the third inning.

Let’s rephrase: The wheels came off, the car careened into a ditch, and then the car burst into flames.

Cease threw 38 of his total of 71 pitches in the third inning alone, walking three straight after giving up a single to Kiké Hernández. The cherry on top of Boston’s inning was a monster, three-run home run to Travis Shaw. Cease left the game with his tail between his legs after giving up seven earned runs (yes, SEVEN) in just 2 2⁄3 innings.

It reminded me of this quote from The West Wing, when Josh Lyman is reading a box score: “Just throw strikes. I don’t understand why that can’t happen. You have a three-run lead, just throw strikes. I mean, my God!”

See? The hard part is over. Now, let’s apply the balm to the wound — let’s talk about the White Sox offense. After the horrendous display that was the top of the third inning, the White Sox came roaring back. Luis Robert had a whale of a night, going 4-for-5, including this double in the fourth inning that cleared the bases:

Yoán Moncada also continued to contribute in meaningful way with this double to tie the game in the fourth. Moncada has now reached base in 22 straight games.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Yasmani Grandal put the White Sox back in front, briefly, completing the comeback with this bat-dropping home run:

If you are looking for something to make you feel better about the pitching staff tonight, look no further than Michael Kopech. He was dominant in a longer-than-usual relief appearance tonight. In fact, he almost pitched as many innings as Cease did. Unlike Cease, Kopech kept the Red Sox hitless in his 2 1⁄3 innings of work, striking out five.

In the end, it wouldn’t be enough. A wild pitch from Craig Kimbrel in the eighth inning led to the Red Sox tying the game, and Dennis Michael Wright Jr. gave up the winning run in the top of the 10th.

The scorecard was a mess tonight, but here are the highs and lows:

  • No further comment:
  • Loving Jason Benetti’s call on Grandal’s home run:
  • After I ran out of room on my scorecard, it was a free-for-all that resulted in this tweet...

...and these scorecard notes:

After tonight’s extra-inning loss, it’ll be a short turnaround for the Sox, who will play the rubber match at 1:10 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. (Come on, it’ll be better than watching the Bears. Probably.)