White Sox, Dylan Cease open 2-game set in Cincinnati


As Dylan Cease tries to build on the best start of his career with the Chicago White Sox, he doesn’t want a repeat of his lone appearance at Cincinnati.

The right-hander eyes a second straight winning start Tuesday night when the White Sox open a two-game set against the Reds, who just took two of three from the Chicago Cubs.

Cease (1-0, 2.96 ERA) has shown promise during his two-plus seasons in the majors, and showed his very best Thursday during an 11-0 rout in the nightcap of a seven-inning, doubleheader sweep of the Detroit Tigers. In what will go down as his first official complete game, Cease allowed just three hits with nine strikeouts and no walks in matching a career high with those seven completed innings.

The 25-year-old had not gotten through the fifth inning in any of his previous four starts in 2021.

“The biggest thing is not getting discouraged and basically just following your process,” Cease said. “Keep a level head. Eventually it will work out.”

Cease couldn’t help but be discouraged on Sept. 20 last season, when he couldn’t find the strike zone and walked seven in three innings against the Reds. He allowed no hits, but was charged with three runs in a 7-3 loss.

It will be interesting to see which Cease shows up Tuesday for the White Sox, who just dropped two of three at home to Cleveland.

He will try to contain a Cincinnati offense that clubbed five home runs during a wild 13-12, 10-inning victory over the visiting Chicago Cubs on Sunday. Nick Castellanos launched two of those home runs and had five hits, including a walk-off single, with four RBIs.

“Whether you win or lose, you have to turn the page really quick,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We have a good team coming in. There’s no doubt it’s better to win and try to keep that momentum going. You kind of learn and move on, really fast, no matter what.”

Cincinnati last won back-to-back home contests during a seven-game run from April 3-17. Castellanos is batting .393 at home, compared to .260 on the road this season. Of his nine homers, eight have come at home.

He’s a .289 career hitter with 14 home runs in 98 games against the White Sox, and 1-for-4 versus Cease.

The Reds will turn to Jeff Hoffman (2-1, 3.33 ERA), who is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three home starts in 2021. However, the right-hander allowed three runs and walked five over a season-low four innings to earn a no-decision in a 6-5 road victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers last week.

The only time Hoffman faced the White Sox was in 2017 with Colorado, when he allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings. Chicago’s Adam Eaton is 2-for-5 with a double against Hoffman.

He won’t have to face Chicago center fielder Luis Robert, who is batting .316, but suffered a strained hip flexor in Sunday’s 5-0 loss to the Indians. However, Chicago’s Yermin Mercedes, one of 2021’s biggest surprises, is batting .395 on the season and 17-for-40 (.425) on the road.

–Field Level Media

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