news 4 days ago

White Sox drop Game 1 of their doubleheader vs. the Astros, 6-2

Chicago Tribune — By Phil Thompson Chicago Tribune

Aug. 13-- CHICAGO-On a day when his fastball command was not there from the first pitch, giving up two solo home runs through six-plus innings probably isn't the worst possible outcome for Dylan Cease.

Cease, who started the day game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Astros, got off to a rocky start by serving up a first-pitch homer to Astros right fielder George Springer. Two innings later, Jose Altuve swatted another homer.

Cease allowed another Astros run in the sixth when his high fastball got by Welington Castillo (he had three passed balls in the game) and Yordan Alvarez scored. The Sox challenged the play based on Cease's tag, but the call was upheld. The Sox ended up losing the game 6-2.

For the most part, the Sox rookie kept himself out of big innings. Down 3-2, Rick Renteria sent him out in the seventh to face Jake Marisnick but pulled him for Kelvin Herrera after he walked Marisnick on pitch No. 98.

Houston tacked on three more runs in the seventh, when Marisnick scored on the second passed ball by Castillo; in the eighth, on Robinson Chirinos' RBI single; and in the ninth, when Chirinos singled in Yuli Gurriel after Gurriel advanced to second on a wild pitch by Josh Osich.

Both pitches Cease served up for home runs were fastballs in the 95 mph range that just hung in the middle of the strike zone. The movement on his curve and slider this season have been above the major-league average while his fastball has shown less movement than average, both vertically and horizontally, according to Statcast.

Still, he relied heavily on his fastball (48%), though only 38% went for strikes. His curveball had a strike rate of 45%, but he had trouble getting the Astros to whiff. He struck out two and allowed five walks.

Renteria has said command is an issue for Cease, who made his seventh career start, and saw Cease's first time facing the AL West-leading Astros as "a big test" for him.

"As we do with all clubs, (we'll) be prepared to put a game plan together," Renteria said before the game. "It's all about execution."

Astros starter Zack Greinke struck out six over six innings. He gave up two runs on RBI doubles to Eloy Jimenez and Jose Abreu.

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