Pitchers of the Month: Cease repeats; Kelly earns 1st

August 3rd, 2022

Starting pitcher of the Chicago White Sox has been named the American League Pitcher of the Month for the second consecutive month, and starter of the Arizona Diamondbacks has been voted the National League Pitcher of the Month for July.

Cease claimed his second career AL Pitcher of the Month Award and his second in a row. Cease is the first White Sox hurler to win consecutive Pitcher of the Month Awards since Jose Contreras in September 2005 and April 2006. However, Cease is the first White Sox pitcher to accomplish the feat in the same season. Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals was the last Major Leaguer to win back-to-back Pitcher of the Month Awards in a single season, doing so in August and September 2019. The last White Sox hurler other than Cease to win Pitcher of the Month was his All-Star rotation-mate Lucas Giolito in May 2019. Kelly earned his first career NL Pitcher of the Month Award and is Arizona’s first winner since All-Star Zack Greinke in July 2018.

“It’s so fresh, I really haven’t reflected a whole lot on it,” Cease said. “I’ve said it before. It’s one of those things where after the season will be a lot of the reflecting and sitting down, and really taking a good look at it.

“Right now, I’m still in compete mode and trying to continue the process. It’s definitely special. I couldn’t be more grateful and happy to have accomplished it. Hopefully it’s not the last one. But we still got work to do.”

Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox

• Registered a 5-1 record with 40 strikeouts and a 0.76 ERA across six starts, while limiting the opposition to 24 hits, 13 walks and three home runs over 35 2/3 innings.

• Made 12 consecutive starts from May 29-July 31 in which he allowed one earned run or less, joining Jacob deGrom (2021) as the only starting pitchers (excluding openers) since 1913 to post 12 straight such starts.

• The Georgia native joined deGrom and Jake Arrieta (2015) as the only starters since 1913 to allow a total of four earned runs or less in a 12-outing span.

• Cease also became the third pitcher in MLB history to post nine consecutive starts in which he pitched at least five innings without allowing more than one run in nine or more consecutive starts, joining Hall of Famer Bob Gibson (1968) and Jack Coombs (1910), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks

• Across six starts, compiled a perfect 4-0 record with 33 strikeouts, eight walks and a 1.31 ERA over 41 1/3 innings pitched, while permitting 24 hits and two home runs.

• Each outing consisted of at least six innings, and the right-hander did not yield more than two runs in any start.

• Tossed at least seven frames while notching seven or more punchouts and not surrendering more than three hits in a pair of starts on July 25 and July 31. Marked just the seventh such two-start streak in team history and the first since Hall of Famer Randy Johnson in 2004.

• The Arizona State University product became the third D-backs pitcher (fifth time) to post an ERA below 1.40 with a minimum of six starts in a calendar month, joining Dan Haren (June 2008) and Johnson, who accomplished the feat three times during his Cy Young Award-winning seasons (July 1999, April 2000, April 2002).

Others receiving votes for AL Pitcher of the Month included All-Star Justin Verlander (4-0, 1.01 ERA, 32 SO, 5 BB) of the Houston Astros; Triston McKenzie (3-1, 1.34 ERA, 33.2 IP, 33 SO) of the Cleveland Guardians; Brady Singer (1-0, 2.05 ERA, 30.2 IP, 42 SO) of the Kansas City Royals; and Cole Irvin (4-1, 1.85 ERA, 22 SO, 3 BB) of the Oakland Athletics.

Others receiving votes for NL Pitcher of the Month included All-Star Tyler Anderson (3-0, 1.11 ERA, 24 SO, 6 BB) of the Los Angeles Dodgers; All-Stars Max Scherzer (1-1, 1.39 ERA, 45 SO, 5 BB) and Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 0.90 ERA, 30.0 IP, 27 SO) of the New York Mets; and All-Stars Corbin Burnes (2-0, 2.01 ERA, 41 SO, 10 BB) and Brandon Woodruff (3-0, 2.10 ERA, 30.0 IP, 38 SO) of the Milwaukee Brewers.