Hey everyone, for the first time in 2023, it’s Cease Day! Time to see what the mustachioed man has for us in his first Spring Training start. The Chicago White Sox will take on the Cincinnati Reds today at 2:05 pm CT at Camelback Ranch in Glendale.
The Reds had a miserable 2022 season, ending with a 62-100 record — tied for third-worst in baseball, and tied for last in the NL Central. Technically, they were kept out of the division basement only because they won the season series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who also had a record of 62-100. So, if you felt terrible about being a Sox fan last year, be thankful that you were not a Pirates or Reds fan!
Cincinnati hopes to avoid another season of cellar-dwelling in 2023 and squeeze the most out of fan-favorite Joey Votto before he exits the Queen City. This coming season is the final guaranteed year of the 10-year contract that Votto signed in 2012. However, Votto is not even with the team in Spring Training right now, as the 39-year-old is still rehabbing from his double shoulder surgery on Aug. 19, 2022. There is no timetable for his return, and it is doubtful he will be ready for Opening Day. ZiPS projects the Reds to end up in fourth place again, but with a few more wins, at 70-92.
So far this spring, the Reds are 2-2 and are coming off of a 14-14 tie against the Oakland Athletics. Today, they will send righthander Luke Weaver to the mound. Weaver signed as a free agent this offseason, and in 26 games last year with both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Kansas City Royals, he was 1-1 with a 6.56 ERA, 38 strikeouts, 52 hits, and 1.82 WHIP in 35 2⁄3 innings. The veteran is hoping to secure a spot in the Reds bullpen. In one prior Cactus League outing, Weaver pitched one inning, surrendering no runs and striking out one.
For the White Sox, Cease is coming off of a magnificent season, in which he went 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA, 227 strikeouts, 126 hits, and 1.11 WHIP in 184 innings and finished second in Cy Young voting. Cease’s control improved significantly in 2022; however, he still walked 78 batters for a 2.91 K/9. So, if we can request any improvement at all from him in 2023, it would be, “Fewer walks, please! Thank you.” FanGraphs predicts Cease will have a down year compared to 2022, forecasting the hard-throwing righty for a 13-9 record with a 3.59 ERA, 228 strikeouts, 3.59 K/9, and a 3.4 WAR in 187 innings.
Here is the starting lineup for the White Sox:
Dylan Cease on the bump at Camelback Ranch! pic.twitter.com/qOXlIm5n0w— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 3, 2023
Here is the starting lineup for the Reds:
The matchup will not be televised today, but you can catch the action on ESPN 1000 at 2:05 p.m. CT.