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Go fish: Cease shuts down Trout, Angels in best start

/ by Tim Stebbins
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
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Chants of “Cease! Cease! Cease!” echoed through Guaranteed Rate Field in the fourth inning Monday as White Sox starter Dylan Cease readied to deliver a 3-2 pitch to Mike Trout.

Cease challenged the Angels superstar, who swung and missed on a 98-mph fastball painted on the outside corner.

“That’s me just letting it eat and just attacking and giving it what I have,” Cease said.

Cease ate a ton Monday. In seven shutout innings, he allowed one hit with no walks while striking out 11 batters — tied for a career-high. It’s the fifth time he’s hit that mark.

He struck out Trout in all three of their matchups. Trout struck out a fourth time in the ninth inning vs. Liam Hendriks to end the game, a 3-0 Sox win.

“He’s maybe the greatest player of all-time,” Cease said of Trout. “Any time you can get him out it’s definitely a confidence booster.”

Cease has gotten off to a strong start this season and Monday’s outing was his best yet. He only needed 93 pitches in his seven innings.

In fact, it was the best start his career, an assessment he agreed with — especially when you consider the circumstances.

The Angels entered the day 15-8 and leading the AL West. The White Sox had lost 11 of their last 13 games and needed a big-time performance from Cease to get back on track.

And as far as striking out Trout three times, it doesn’t happen often. That was only the seventh time he’s struck out that many times in a game in his entire career.

 

Trout also went 2-for-2 with a double, home run and walk on Sunday, a 6-5 Sox loss. 

“Cease took it to him. He took it to him,” Anderson said. “That’s the beautiful part of the game, being able to go out to compete against the best and being able to beat them at their best.

“Cease definitely had the upper hand today. He’s going to have to face him a lot more, so hopefully he keeps that going. He was very competitive today.”

Cease said his confidence is “pretty high” right now. His ERA sits at 2.48 through five outings. He’s among the game’s leaders in strikeouts with 39.

He’s been an anchor in a White Sox rotation that's currently without All-Star Lance Lynn, was without Lucas Giolito to start the season and lost All-Star Carlos Rodón over the winter.

“His continued progress is — I don’t want to say amazing because that means it’s beyond what he can do,” manager Tony La Russa said of Cease. “It’s just how quickly he’s developing is very fun to see.

"To me he’s pitching with a lot of command," La Russa said, "and he was doing that as the [2021] season went on and he got better and better."

Cease will remember Monday for a long time.

“Yeah, definitely,” Cease said. “It’ll definitely be cool to look back on for sure.”

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