Cease, Giolito enjoy competitive bond

White Sox pitchers pushing each other in Spring Training

March 6th, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Cactus League split-squad starts for Dylan Cease and Lucas Giolito took place approximately 19 miles apart in Arizona on Tuesday. But there still was a competitive kinship between these two talented young White Sox starters.

“Competition between teammates will always bring the best out of teammates,” said Giolito, who took the 7-4 loss to the Padres at Camelback Ranch. “Always trying to compete in whatever we do, whether it’s our outings -- if we are pitching on the same day -- in the weight room, showing each other exercises, trying to outlift each other, outrun each other.

“All those things kind of come together and bring the best out of all the players. That’s what’s important is having a good camaraderie but also some friendly competition along the way.”

Cease’s start against the Indians in Goodyear marked his first 2019 Cactus League appearance. He threw 14 pitches over one scoreless inning, with 12 of those pitches being fastballs. He hit 98 mph on half of those fastballs, with one curve and one change mixed in, before he threw 15-20 more pitches in the bullpen.

Making his debut on March 5 is all part of the White Sox innings-management plan with the game's No. 21 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. His previous career high was 124 in ’18. The White Sox envision Cease following a similar path as Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Michael Kopech via an in-season callup.

“Whatever they want, I’m going to do and work my way up there,” Cease told reporters in Goodyear. “Command wasn’t great, but my body felt good and the ball felt good coming out of my hand, so it was a good first step.

“Any time you’re throwing the ball that hard it’s hard not to feel good about that. There are still little tweaks and things I want to work on, but it was a solid first inning.”

Spring Training is almost exclusively about making those tweaks and getting regular season ready as opposed to putting up zero after zero. Giolito, in his second trip to the mound, allowed three runs on five hits over 2 2/3 innings, with three strikeouts, one walk and 36 of his 64 pitches thrown for strikes.

Giolito talked post-start about being a “a little bit leaky/pully” with his front side and pulling too many pitches. He also worked at holding guys on, speed to the plate, varying hold times, varying looks, picks and then the feel out of the stretch.

“Once we get going towards the end of spring and I’m out there for what’s more close to an actual start, I have my 80-plus pitches whatever it may be, that’s when it’s time to turn it on and really focus in on making pitches, sequencing better,” Giolito said. “There were times today when I felt I could have sequenced a little bit better, especially all those deep counts, those 3-2 counts, just throwing heater, heater, heater. Might mix something else in in a different situation.”

With a Cleveland lineup full of players with Major League experience, Cease acquitted himself nicely. It was the initial ‘19 push toward the big leagues, where he will be pushing his friends and teammates already there.

“It’s always good to see how your stuff plays against the best,” Cease said. “So, it’s always fun facing those guys.”

“There’s no like ‘I hate you and I want you to fail so I’m better,’” said a smiling Giolito. “That doesn’t breed anything good at all. It’s all about supporting each other, but at the same time, egging each other on and if you see someone slacking off in one area, then you give them a little kick in the butt and get them back on track.”