It looked like a good outing from up here.
Dylan Cease went up against the Houston Astros, arguably the best team in baseball, and came out of things with just two earned runs allowed, on a pair of solo homers, in six innings of work. At one point, he retired 10 batters in a row.
The box score told a slightly different story, with the five walks Cease issued on the day jumping off the page. Two of those walked hitters came around to score the two unearned runs he gave up, both on Welington Castillo passed balls.
Cease himself told a completely different story after the game, his demeanor one of disappointment after his team fell by a 6-2 score in the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader.
"I didn't execute pitches that great, but we had a chance to win so that was OK," Cease said after the game. "But I mean, it's hard to be happy with a loss.
"For me, at the end of the day it's how I execute pitches, and I didn't feel like I did it great today. I always judge my outings on that, not necessarily the results because those can be misleading."
After he gave up just two earned runs to a team as good as the Astros in what was the first quality start of Cease's big league career, you might have expected a cheerier response. But Cease is a perfectionist, like the rest of these pitchers. That said, he did show signs of progression Tuesday, even if he wasn't thrilled with the way he pitched.
It looked like it might have been a short day at the office for Cease when George Springer launched Cease's first pitch for a moonshot homer that probably landed somewhere in Michigan City, Indiana. Then Cease put three of the next four hitters on base, loading the bases on an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. But he got an inning-ending double play from Yuli Gurriel, allowing just two base runners over the next four innings.
In a season so geared toward the development of the White Sox young core players, this was a step forward. Even Cease had to agree with his manager, that he's progressing every time he takes the ball.
"It was a nice outing for him," Renteria said. "He’s getting better with every outing. Today was certainly a big one. (Pitching coach Don Cooper) was saying, 'It’s a lot of confidence you showed when you walked (Alvarez) to load the bases in the first.' I have confidence in Dylan Cease, and he made a good pitch to get out of that inning. He’s got good stuff. As he continues to learn to command and execute, he’s going to give himself a chance and put himself in a position where he gets deeper in ballgames."
"I feel like I'm making progress every start," Cease said. "For me, I kind of got a little feel towards the end, ... little things to take into my next sideline. Just keep tweaking that stuff."
All that perfectionism might prove to be useful as Cease continues his development. It might help him become the top-of-the-rotation pitcher he's been hyped to grow into.
Right now, he's a rookie with a 5.54 ERA. But the progress is there, and it keeps coming.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.