Whether or not he admits it, Chicago White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease gets to face his favorite team on Tuesday.
Cease, who has been lights out against the Tigers in 10 career starts, will start against them in the second game of a three-game series at Detroit.
The 26-year-old right-hander is 9-0 with a 2.08 ERA vs. the Tigers, notching 67 strikeouts and walking just 17 in 56 1/3 innings.
At Detroit’s Comerica Park, he has won all five of his outings while posting a 2.33 ERA and striking out 34 in 27 innings. In his first start this season, he held the Tigers to one run on two hits and struck out eight in five-plus innings.
In a statistical oddity, Cease (4-3, 3.14 ERA) has allowed a total of nine runs in his past three starts, but none have been earned.
An error by third baseman Jake Burger led to a six-run inning for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Cease’s latest start on Thursday. In his previous outing, Cease gave up just one hit in 4 2/3 innings at Tampa Bay but walked seven batters.
Cease was removed with two outs in the fifth against the Dodgers after throwing 110 pitches. He had fired 45 pitches in the inning before manager Tony La Russa went to his bullpen.
“Honestly I didn’t even know I had thrown that many,” Cease said. “I wouldn’t say it takes a different toll. Obviously, if there have been 45 pitches thrown, things aren’t going the right way.”
Things hadn’t been going the right way for the White Sox lately, as they lost four of the five games prior to their 9-5 victory over the Tigers in the series opener on Monday. Jose Abreu provided an early blow and a knockout punch, blasting a two-run homer in the first inning and another in the ninth. Chicago had five players produce multi-hit games, with Abreu and Leury Garcia delivering three hits apiece.
The Tigers don’t have any days off during their 10-game homestand and will use a bullpen game on Tuesday to get through the rugged schedule.
Right-hander Drew Hutchison (0-3, 4.60 ERA) will rejoin the major league roster to serve as the Tuesday opener, the club announced after the Monday game. Hutchison is 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA in six career appearances (three starts) against the White Sox. He threw two scoreless innings vs. Chicago on April 8.
Another pitching option will be Tyler Alexander, (0-3, 8.76 ERA), who has been on the injured list since late April due to an elbow sprain. He is due to be activated Tuesday.
Alexander tried to pitch through some pain before he was shelved. He has been on a rehab assignment, pitching nine innings in five appearances at Triple-A Toledo, and is expected to serve a long-relief role the rest of the season.
The Tigers will look for more offense from second baseman Kody Clemens, who got the first two hits of his major league career on Monday. Roger Clemens’ son made his debut on May 31 and was hitless in his first 17 at-bats.
“After the (second) inning, (first baseman Spencer Torkelson) said, ‘Don’t you just feel 100 pounds lighter?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, absolutely,'” Clemens said.
Detroit manager A.J. Hinch plans to sit Torkelson on Tuesday. The rookie struck out three times while going 0-for-4 on Monday, dropping his average to .181.
“It’s easy to pile on a guy when he has a bad night and I don’t want to do that,” Hinch said, “but we’re aware he’s not performing quite to the level he’s going to or that he has.”
The White Sox won’t have starting catcher Yasmani Grandal this week. Grandal was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sunday, due to lower back spasms.
Burger left the series opener with a bruised right hand after getting hit by a pitch. X-rays were negative, and he is day-to-day.
–Field Level Media