Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Dylan Cease Falls One Out Short Of History

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It was evident that it would be a good night on 35th and Shields. Dylan Cease opened the game by retiring the side in order.

Then Jose Abreu opened the scoring with an RBI single. Eloy Jimenez followed that up with a three-run blast to right center field. Romy Gonzalez joined the hit parade in the bottom of the fourth inning, hitting his first major league home run to extend the lead to 7-0.

That was all the run support that Dylan Cease would need. He quickly picked apart the Twins, retiring the side in order in the second inning, then working around a lead-off walk in the third by getting Gary Sanchez to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.

Cease only had five strikeouts through eight innings. His first K didn’t come until the sixth inning when he froze Luis Arraez with a slider. While it was an uncharacteristically low strikeout night for Cease early on, the lack of strikeouts worked to his advantage. Cease induced lots of early contact while the Twins struggled to barrel anything up.

After recording his 18th out of the night, Cease had a feeling he was working on something special. His stuff was so electric that Twins manager Rocco Baldelli pulled Carlos Correa and Max Kepler after the fifth inning.

In the seventh inning, Cease put his slider to work. Kyle Garlick and Jermaine Palacios each fanned on an 89 and 90 mph slider for back-to-back strikeouts. Jose Miranda then lined out to right field to end the inning.

Nick Gordon was greeted with a knuckle curve and a pair of fastballs before walking back to the bench to start the eighth inning. Gio Urshela then hit a soft grounder right back at Cease for out number two. One pitch later, Jake Cave ripped a slider that looked like it would be the Twin’s first hit of the night. But Jose Abreu was in the right place at the right time and snagged the line drive.

Through eight innings, he had thrown just 91 pitches. According to Statcast, Cease allowed only three batted balls with better than a 50/50 chance of going for a hit based on the launch angle and exit velocity.

The 31,655 fans in attendance rose to their feet. Only three outs separated them from witnessing history. Cease seized the moment and waved his arms to pump up the crowd further as he walked to the dugout.

“I was excited,” the Cy Young candidate said after the game. “I was three away. I was ready to give everything I got.”

Baldelli tried to break up Cease’s rhythm by inserting second baseman Nick Gordon into the game at pitcher. The White Sox added five runs in the ninth inning, including an Elvis Andrus grand slam, while Cease eagerly waited in the dugout.

The inning mercifully ended with an Adam Haseley strikeout allowing Cease to finally retake the mound and try for his shot at history.

The first batter standing in his way was Caleb Hamilton, who was searching for his first major league hit. He would have to wait as Cease quickly dispatched of him with a slider in the dirt for his sixth strikeout of the night. Cease didn’t have to wait long for out number 26. Gilbert Celestino chased the first pitch he saw and flew out to Adam Engel in center field.

The last batter standing between Cease and the 21st no-hitter in franchise history was Luis Arraez, the American League leader in average.

With Kyle Garlick on deck, Cease could have pitched around Arraez. He had already walked two batters, so a walk would cause no harm. Instead, Cease went right after him. His first pitch was a low slider. He then challenged Arraez with a high fastball that Arraez fouled off his foot. The 26-year-old then attacked Arraez with a high knuckle curve. Once again, Arraez fouled it off, bringing Cease just one strike away.

The fans began chanting his name as he uncorked his 99th pitch of the night. It was a 90 mph slider, but this time Arraez was ready; he ripped it to right field to break up the no-hitter.

Ethan Katz came out to calm down his pitcher. Despite the disappointment of missing out on history by one strike, he still had a complete game shutout on the line. The Georgia native took the message to heart and wrapped up his gem by striking out Garlick to end the game.

His final line was nine innings, no runs, one hit, two walks, and seven strikeouts. It was a superb effort. Yet it left Cease wanting more.

“I am disappointed, but like you said, it’s a win, CG. I’ll take it, but yeah, it’s a little disappointing,” Cease told Ken Rosenthal.

Despite his displeasure, it was a massive day for the White Sox in the big picture. The 13-0 win marked the White Sox’s fourth victory in a row and moved them just one game behind the Twins in the AL Central standings.

2 COMMENTS

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JoElectric
JoElectric
Sep 3, 2022 11:14 pm

Agreed big Cease fan. Go Sox!

White Sox Fan
White Sox Fan
Sep 3, 2022 11:02 pm

Hell of a performance by Dylan! It really broke my heart, he wanted it so bad. Almost felt like a loss when Arraez got that single. Gotta stay focused on the big picture though. I promise Dylan will get a no hitter or a few before his career is over. Good job Dylan!

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