The Chicago White Sox recorded their first victory of the 2022 season by topping the Detroit Tigers in a 5-2 ballgame on Saturday afternoon. It was a nice bounce-back performance for the visitors after a dismal Opening Day loss that elicited immediate and future concerns. The Sox evened the season-opening series at one thanks to a strong start from Dylan Cease and offensive strikes that the Tigers ultimately couldn’t counter.
A familiar foe, Casey Mize, made his sixth career start vs. the South Siders. Dylan Cease toed the rubber for the White Sox looking to set the tone for a campaign in which some have deemed him an AL Cy Young candidate.
Mize, a command and control pitcher, features some outstanding secondary pitches, most notably a splitter that he uses as his out pitch. In contrast, Cease is a power pitcher with an intimidating arsenal of deceiving secondary pitches, specifically his slider.
This matchup played into the White Sox’s favor. Mize, like most control artists, throws a lot of strikes. He got off to a rocky start in the first as the Sox took an early 2-0 lead after Eloy Jimenez plated a pair on a two-out single.
With that opportunistic knock, the White Sox continued a trend from last season of jumping out to early leads. Chicago should enjoy continued success this year against pitchers who live in the strike zone like Mize.
Dylan Cease helped ease some of the White Sox’s starting rotation concerns with a promising outing to begin his fourth big-league season. Sox On Tap’s own Sean Roberts has dubbed Cease as being the x-factor to the 2022 campaign, and the righty gave credence to that sentiment in his first 2022 outing.
Cease finished with a final line of 5+ IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. The fourth inning of Saturday’s game is hopefully a sign of things to come from Cease as he struck out the side. However, in the fifth, he ran into a little bit of trouble and put a couple of runners on base but escaped unscathed. On a cold day in Detroit, it appeared he did not have a good feel for his changeup. Both pitchers were beneficiaries of a 40-degree day that helped keep some hard-hit balls inside the walls.
Overall, Cease remained effective with a mostly slider/fastball mix that kept the Tigers hitters off balance. Particularly, his slider produced swing-and-miss strikeouts throughout his outing.
Offense Ups The Ante
On the flip side, Casey Mize met his demise in a sixth inning that began with a Jose Abreu leadoff single. Next, Yasmani Grandal gave the White Sox a 4-0 lead and chased the young righty from the game with a no-doubter home run followed by his classic bat drop.
Grandal’s blast proved to be all the Sox would need, though they tacked on another later in the game.
Enter The Bullpen
White Sox skipper Tony La Russa wisely pulled Cease from the game before facing the lineup for the third time following an Austin Meadows leadoff single to begin the bottom of the sixth inning.
With Reynaldo Lopez on in relief, a Javier Baez single followed by a Jeimer Candelario double led to the Tigers’ first run of the game. Then, the White Sox caught a break when Baez tried to score from third on a passed ball. Lopez’s pitch careened off Grandal’s glove and seemed destined for the backstop, but the Sox catcher quickly recovered and flipped to Lopez who tagged Baez out at home.
Detroit’s second and final run of the game crossed home when Leury Garcia botched what should have been a double play to end the inning. But Garcia got an immediate redemption chance to turn two and made good on it to end the Tigers’ sixth-inning threat.
Icing On The Cake
In the top of the seventh inning, the White Sox picked up an insurance run.
Josh Harrison led off the frame with a double down the right-field line and advanced to third on Jake Burger’s sacrifice bunt. Andrew Vaughn, who had replaced an injured AJ Pollock in the third inning, lined a single to right field that plated Harrison.
That tally made the score 5-2 in Chicago’s favor, which ultimately held up as the final.
Not So Fast
The Chicago White Sox appeared to embark on another bullpen circus day in the latter stages of the game.
Reynaldo Lopez walked the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the seventh. Bennett Sousa, who pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the season opener, entered to relieve Lopez. The 27-year-old lefty immediately got Akil Badoo to ground into a 3-6 double play followed by a Robbie Grossman flyout to alleviate the pressure.
Sousa features a nice slider and could prove to be a solid replacement to Garrett Crochet. For the second time in as many days, he retired all three batters he faced.
Jose Ruiz relieved Sousa in the eighth and protected the lead thanks to yet another White Sox double play.
Working the ninth inning, Aaron Bummer allowed back-to-back singles that surely increased the heart rates of South Siders everywhere. But the lanky lefty recovered admirably by striking out the next three Tigers’ hitters to secure a 5-2 White Sox win and his first save of the season.
Takeaways: Back On Track
All is (mostly) well on the South Side as the Chicago White Sox have etched their first of many wins in 2022.
Dylan Cease was brilliant on the mound and timely hitting from Eloy Jimenez, Yasmani Grandal, and Andrew Vaughn padded the visitors’ run column. Overall, a satisfying rebound victory was just what the doctor ordered following a sour Opening Day showing.
The injury bug returned, this time biting AJ Pollock, but he would have been out of the lineup in the coming days regardless due to paternity leave. Luckily, the veteran outfielder doesn’t believe the hamstring ailment he suffered Saturday is as significant as past occurrences.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers will play the rubber match of their season-opening series on Sunday afternoon. The Pale Hose plan to deploy Michael Kopech for his first start of the year as Detroit turns to young lefty Tarik Skubal. The game will air on NBC Sports Chicago with first pitch scheduled for 12:10 PM CT.
Tune in to the Sox On Tap podcast for postgame reaction and further White Sox commentary all season.
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