Saturday’s White Sox game against the Rays was meant to be a battle of the aces. Turns out only one ace came to play, and it was not Dylan Cease.
The dominant righty and ace of the South Side starting rotation went only four-plus innings in this afternoon’s outing after racking up an unmanageable pitch count. (Things don’t often bode well when you have a 35-pitch first inning.) Cease was knocked out of the box in the fifth inning, with no outs and runners on first and second. He ended his day giving up three earned runs on six hits, walking one, and striking out five. Redemption will be sought when he faces Tampa at home next week.
Shane McClanahan did show up ready for battle, and got himself a quality start after six innings of two-run baseball. He only allowed three hits, two of which left the park as solo home runs. The lefthander made quick work of White Sox hitters, striking out 10 and walking just one. He would earn a win for his efforts, however, because of a pesky pinch hit.
This was yet again a game of battling back for the White Sox. After Dylan Cease gave up a two-run home run to Randy Arozarena in the bottom of the first, Eloy Jiménez homered to lead off the second inning. This brought the South Siders to within one run.
Cease worked out of a jam with runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the fourth, keeping the score steady at 2-1. In the top of the fifth Yasmani Grandal evened the score at two with a solo home run to straight center.
In the bottom of the inning, the Rays again had runners on first and third. This time there were no outs. Cease was pulled from the inning after reaching 101 pitches, and Keynan Middleton would give up an RBI single to Arozarena to put the Rays back on top.
Things on offense quieted down for a few innings before Gavin Sheets came in to pinch-hit in the top of the eighth for Romy González. The result rendered McClanahan a no-decision and gave the White Sox a chance to actually win a ball game.
Victory would not happen, though.
While Sheets’ pinch-hit was pesky, Arozarena is peskier. The game did require 10 innings, but it would not stop the left fielder from collecting his third hit and fourth RBI of the day. This hit would also secure the Rays a second walk-off win in just as many days.
The White Sox will attempt to salvage a win tomorrow against a still-undefeated-at-home Rays team.
Will the South Siders win a series in the month of April? The Rays have spoken, and they said, “Not yet.”