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Dylan Cease named AL Pitcher of the Month, then goes out and handles the Giants

Wait, he gave up as many earned runs on Saturday as he did all of June, take the award back

MLB: Chicago White Sox at San Francisco Giants
Yes, Dylan Cease was a total slacker on Saturday, giving up as many earned runs as he did in all of June.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to brettballantini@yahoo.com

Go figure, Dylan Cease may have pitched the White Sox to a 5-3 win over San Francisco on Saturday, but in the process he really blew his stellar June pace.

You know, the pace that led to one earned run and a 0.33 ERA, and was rewarded on Saturday with AL Pitcher of the Month honors?

Yes, for the first time in Cease’s career, he has won an MLB honor, and short of end-of-season awards, this is a big one.

The 26-year-old won two of his three decisions in June, with just that one ER in 27 13 innings. Batters hit just .192 off of him, and he further swelled an already-gaudy K/9, piling up 45 punch outs in June for a 14.82 K/9 ... that’s not too bad.

The White Sox have gone more than three years between AL Pitcher of the Month honors, with Lucas Giolito being the last winner, in May 2019.

While Cease’s big-K game sees him piling up too many pitches to go deep into games and thus has a workload that can’t match the otherworldly outputs of Chisox starters from a century ago, Cease matched Doc White (1904) by authoring five straight starts (May 29-June 26, 29 13 innings) without an earned run.

Cease is making an All-Star push in 2022, tallying a 7-3 record and 2.51 ERA with 125 strikeouts in 16 starts. He ranks second in the majors in strikeouts, tied for ninth in batting average against (.209), and 10th in in ERA.

Heading into his start on Saturday, Cease’s 13.44 K/9 led the majors and was on track for the third-highest full-season mark in history. (In 2021, Cease logged a 12.3 K/9 that led the AL.)

Cease’s 121 strikeouts heading into Saturday were the third-highest total in White Sox history over the first 15 starts of a season.

Cease’s 2.5 fWAR and 1.7 rWAR may indicate discrepancies in his performance, but FanGraphs definitely has the righthander well on his way to an All-Star season and almost certain to garner his first votes and serious consideration for the AL Cy Young.