ASTROS (77-41) AT WHITE SOX (52-64)
Game 1: 4:40 p.m. ET; NBCSCH+, ATTSN-SW, MLB.TV
Game 2: 8:10 p.m. ET; NBCSCH+, ATTSN-SW, MLB.TV
Another Chicago White Sox doubleheader, another Dylan Cease start.
As fate and Mother Nature would have it, those occurrences certainly have dovetailed during the first six weeks of the rookie right-hander’s career.
Monday’s scheduled game between the host White Sox and Houston Astros was postponed due to inclement weather and rescheduled as part of a straight doubleheader beginning Tuesday afternoon. Cease is set to get the call in Game 1, marking the third time he has pitched the opener of a twin bill in seven major league starts.
In his most recent outing on Tuesday, Cease (2-4, 6.00 ERA) snapped a four-start losing streak by defeating the Detroit Tigers in the first game of a doubleheader. Cease scattered two runs and seven hits in five innings with one walk and six strikeouts.
Both of Cease’s victories have come against Detroit. Tuesday marks his first career appearance against Houston.
Cease has vowed to boost his mental game in an effort to pitch deeper into games, an approach he knows he’ll need against the vaunted Astros, who entered Monday at 36 games over .500.
“I’m just going to do a better job of mentally locking in before the game and not letting the first inning or two wake me up,” Cease said. “It’s one of those things where you can try to be too perfect. You can try to be this or that instead of just being aggressive and letting things happen. For me, going into it now, I’m [going to] just from the get-go, start out aggressive. But stuff-wise, I’m feeling good. I just need to not fall behind.”
Veteran righty Zack Greinke (11-4, 3.08 ERA) is slated to oppose Cease in his second start with Houston since joining the club from the Arizona Diamondbacks at the July 31 trade deadline.
Greinke is 8-10 with a 3.98 ERA in 27 career appearances against Chicago, including 24 starts, striking out 147 batters in 165 innings.
Houston won Greinke’s team debut as part of an eight-game winning streak that was snapped when the Baltimore Orioles rallied for a walk-off victory on Sunday afternoon.
“When you’re playing great baseball, it seems like the losses even hurt that much more,” Astros right-hander Justin Verlander said.
Gerrit Cole (14-5, 2.87 ERA) is expected to start for the Astros in the nightcap, which will begin 30 minutes following the conclusion of Game 1. In two career starts against the White Sox, Cole is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA, allowing three home runs in 12 innings. Cole took the loss in a May 22 home start against Chicago, surrendering six runs and seven hits in five innings.
Fellow righty Ivan Nova will oppose Cole for the second time this season, having defeated the Astros May 22 behind seven innings of three-run ball. Nova (7-9, 4.80 ERA) has won three of his past four start. He enters with a 3-1 record and 3.94 ERA in five career appearances against Houston, including four starts.
Rain began falling at Guaranteed Rate Field about three hours before Monday’s scheduled first pitch of 7:10 p.m. Central, as the White Sox were taking batting practice. The grounds crew rolled the tarp onto the field moments later.
–Field Level Media