ARLINGTON – The White Sox’s 2-1 win over Rangers on Friday night at Globe Life Field was a game that featured some notable achievements for the visitors.
Dylan Cease, who allowed one run over six innings, scored his 13th straight start, allowing for one round earned or less. He became the first player not to accomplish this feat since the ERA became an official stat (1913), and allowed a total of five runs gained over the last 76 innings.
What started stopped, Liam Hendricks finished. Closer had thrown a perfect nine in his 22nd and 100th saves of his career. Most importantly, the on-court superiority of the White Sox (54-52) landed them in a second-place MLS game with the Guardians, leaving them two games behind the Twins.
“That’s why we come every day. Improving to 12-4 with 1.98 ERAs,” Cease said after improving to an ERA. “Honestly, I always have the mentality of the next day. But we’ve got three good teams, all of them competing, so I think it’s going to be a really fun extension of baseball.”
“We saw a different side of Dylan Seas,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “I think he had 40 throws after two rounds. And he ended up texting during the sixth. The young man continues to admire, he is amazed. He works hard and he just settled in.”
The stoppage went twice with two in the first half and allowed Adulis Garcia to stand alone against the turn to give Rangers (47-59) a 1-0 lead. Bubba Thompson did so alone and Marcus Semien walked a second, but after Corey Seager pulled a likely three-stroke Homer a few feet away, he appeared to stop Tim Anderson to finish the rally.
The Seager pop-up started a streak of 13 retirees in a row by Cease before being replaced by Joe Kelly on the seventh. With five-strokes and three walks across 91 pitches on Friday night, Cease has now cheered 95 and walked 34 through this amazing stretch. It posted 0.33 ERA in June and 0.76 in July, and looks to be strong in August.
“I am happy with that. I am happy to give us a chance. I hope it continues,” Cease said. “It’s definitely the best I’ve ever had in my life.”
“He’s got one of the best skaters in the league…it’s tough,” Texas coach Chris Woodward said. “He feels really confident, of course, in the way he’s throwing, so I knew we weren’t going to arrange a lot of balls, but we’ve had a few players who’ve had some decent swings on him. We just couldn’t catch him.”
Eloy Jiménez’s home lead against Glenn Otto in the fourth inning proved to be the last round of the match. Jiménez knew he shot the ball wide, but added with a smile that he started running really hard right away because Globe Life is a big stadium.
That drive carried 437 feet, so it wasn’t really surprising when he cleared the fence. Cease’s supremacy also comes as no surprise to Jimenez, who he played with when they were both part of the Cubs’ Minor League system.
“He showed everyone he’s competing now,” Jimenez said. “It’s good to be by his side now.”
“Even when he doesn’t have his stuff, even when he doesn’t have position or fragility or anything like that, he just keeps up and makes sure he keeps giving us a chance to win the game,” Hendricks said. “This is evidence of his ability to mitigate risk.”
Over Cease’s last eight starts, he’s been shooting Fastball 35.5 percent of the time, slider at 51.3 percent, curve at 11.8 percent and shifting 1.5 percent, according to MLB Network’s Gameday notes. On Friday, he threw 37 slides, 36 of the four hoses and 18 joint bends, recording 18 flips and misses, per Statcast.
It was a more balanced domination for Cease, who made a slight tweak to his mechanics in the third to come down the hill better to help him succeed.
“I wasn’t doing very well… so I fiddled with him for warmth,” Cease said. “Sometimes all it takes is one stadium and I got that feeling and was able to ride with it.”