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Cease, 3 White Sox relievers shut out Tribe

Bummer exits with biceps soreness and will be reevaluated Saturday
@scottmerkin
August 8, 2020

CHICAGO -- White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease walked the leadoff hitter in four of the five innings he pitched during Friday’s 2-0 victory over the Tribe at Guaranteed Rate Field. Cease threw just 52 of his 99 pitches for strikes, and he faced bases-loaded situations in both the second and

CHICAGO -- White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease walked the leadoff hitter in four of the five innings he pitched during Friday’s 2-0 victory over the Tribe at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Cease threw just 52 of his 99 pitches for strikes, and he faced bases-loaded situations in both the second and the fifth. Yet he managed to exit the evening without a run allowed. It was quite an escape act for the 24-year-old, who topped out at 99.5 mph per Statcast, but had seemingly mixed feelings about his performance.

Box score

“Any time you get a win, I'm going to leave that game happy,” Cease said. “But with my stuff tonight, there's no reason why I shouldn't have gone deeper. I wasted a lot of pitches, got behind a lot of guys. There's still a lot of room for improvement. A game like this will not be sustainable, so I do have to be better.”

“He had a lot of traffic, a lot of 3-2 counts,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said of Cease. “His pitch count was deep, especially in the fifth. The ball-to-strike ratio didn’t get where we wanted it to be. But absolutely, he looked more comfortable in his own skin. He wants to do better. Yes, it was an outing that he worked through a lot of things.”

Eloy up for 'challenge' to improve on defense

Cleveland loaded the bases in the second on a walk to Carlos Santana, a soft single by Franmil Reyes and a hit-by-pitch of Bradley Zimmer. But Cease struck out Oscar Mercado and induced an inning-ending double play from Sandy León. With two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth, Cease retired José Ramírez on a grounder to second baseman Danny Mendick to stop the threat on his last pitch.

Big innings plagued Cease during his rookie season, when he finished with a 5.79 ERA in 14 starts. But even with the inability to completely harness his stuff, Cease was able to help the White Sox (8-6) end a two-game losing streak.

“We’ve still yet to see him completely sharp,” White Sox right fielder Adam Engel said of Cease. “And he pitched incredible tonight when he probably didn’t have his best command. That’s special, man. That’s really good. Young pitchers might get into a situation that he was in tonight and maybe let it get away from them. But Dylan just stayed with it, made pitches when he needed to make pitches."

The White Sox won the game but lost Aaron Bummer, one of the most valuable pitchers on the staff, in the seventh. Bummer’s second inning of relief was extended on his throwing error on a Cesar Hernandez grounder to the right of the mound, but after his first pitch to Ramírez, which was a 95.1 mph sinker, Bummer called for the trainer and Renteria and left the game with what the team described as left biceps soreness. Ramírez lined out to right against Evan Marshall to strand two runners.

“He just felt what he thought was a cramp in his biceps,” Renteria said of Bummer’s injury. “Obviously we took him out. They will reevaluate it tomorrow. Hopefully it’s no extended period of time, but we are going to be careful with him.”

José Abreu's double-play grounder in the first scored the only run for the White Sox until the eighth, when Engel went deep via a 430-foot blast to left-center on a night when the ball once again wasn’t carrying. The White Sox have scored eight runs in their last 35 innings but have managed to forge a 2-2 record during that time, including an important American League Central victory Friday.

“They've got a great ballclub, so any time we can get a win from them, it's huge,” said Cease, who worked a four-pitch mix for the victory. “We're treating every game like a must-win. These games definitely don't have the same feeling as Game 15 of a 162-game season. We're coming to the ballpark to win every day."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.