Aug 05, 2022
Cease pitches 6 strong innings, White Sox beat Rangers 2-1
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dylan Cease pitched six strong innings, Eloy Jimenez hit a tiebreaking solo home run and the Chicago White Sox beat the Texas Rangers 2-1 on Friday night.
The first start in August for Cease (12-4) resembled those of the past eight weeks, when he was selected the AL pitcher of the month for June and July.He gave up a run and two hits to lower his earned run average to 1.98, second in the AL, and won his fifth straight start.
Cease hasn’t allowed more than one run in a game since June 9, when he was tagged for six unearned runs, and hasn’t given up more than one earned run in any of his last 13 starts.
He gave up a first-inning run on back-to-back two-out walks and an opposite-field RBI single by Adolis Garcia. He had not allowed a first-inning run since July 2. Cease didn’t allow a hit after Bubba Thompson’s second-inning single. He struck out five and walked three, one after the first inning.
Chicago tied the score 1-1 in the third beginning with a four-pitch leadoff walk to Yasmani Grandal, who came in on an 0-for-21 slump. Grandal advanced to third on Josh Harrison’s single that glanced off the glove of second baseman Marcus Semien and scored on a sacrifice fly by Seby Zavala.
Jimenez homered in the fourth to put Chicago ahead.
Kendall Graveman left the bases loaded in the eighth, retiring Leody Taveras on a first-pitch groundout to first base to end the inning. Liam Hendriks, the third White Sox reliever, pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save in 25 chances.
The White Sox have won 13 of their last 20 games.
Glenn Otto (4-8) gave up two runs and four hits in six innings while matching a career high with seven strikeouts. Otto is 0-6 in eight starts since returning from the COVID-19 related injury list.
White Sox: RHP Reynaldo Lopez (back) is scheduled to pitch a simulated game on Saturday. “My understanding is he’s four or five days away from being ready,” manager Tony La Russa said.
Rangers: INF-OF Brad Miller (neck strain) was activated from the 10-day injured list. Miller was the DH on Friday, his first action since July 17, and went 0 for 3. To make room for him on the active roster, INF-OF Nick Solak was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.
White Sox RHP Michael Kopech (4-7, 3.12 ERA) goes against Rangers RHP Dane Dunning (1-6, 4.30) on Saturday. Kopech, from the east Texas town of Mount Pleasant, matched a season high with seven innings last time out in a 2-1 loss to Kansas City. Dunning has four straight no-decisions and hasn’t won since April 30.
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Josh Donaldson starting to find his groove at the plate to go along with his stellar defense
SEATTLE — Josh Donaldson was the spark the Yankees needed Monday night. After losing five straight and being swept in St. Louis, the veteran third baseman gave the Bombers three runs early to get their offense going against the Mariners on Monday and hopefully turn around a month-long skid.
And the Yankees have to hope that this run can turn around what has been a disappointing start to Donaldson’s Yankee career.
Donaldson’s two-run single in the first inning against Logan Gilbert got things started and then he homered off the Mariners’ right-handed starter in the third. He finished with a season-high four-hit night, including two doubles and his 11th home run of the season.
“I feel like that run is in there for JD,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “And if he can get going like we know he’s capable of, that’s a big, heavy bat in the middle. And we need it.”
The Bombers haven’t seen it for most of the season. After acquiring Donaldson — and the $50 million left on his deal with the Twins that runs through next season with an option for 2024 — Donaldson looked nothing like the three-time All-Star and 2015 American League MVP who signed that four-year deal in Minnesota.
They got Donaldson in a deal that was mainly meant to secure their shortstop position (Isiah Kiner-Falefa) and change their catching spot (sending Gary Sanchez and third baseman Gio Urshela to the Twins). Of course, Donaldson is now 36 and dealing with a nagging shoulder injury, but the Yankees had hoped they were getting a solid defensive third baseman with some power.
Through the first four months of the season, Donaldson hit .217/.296/.373 with nine home runs and drove in 35 runs in 82 at-bats.
One scout who has watched Donaldson over his career suggested that it may be circumstance.
“He was ‘the guy,’ in the lineup most of his career, the pitcher was trying to limit his damage and then going after guys lower in the lineup,” the American League scout said. “Now he’s hitting further down in the lineup, he’s behind Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony RIzzo, those are the guys the pitcher is worried about. He’s probably seeing more fastballs and less ‘get me over stuff’ than any time in his career.”
That said, Donaldson was contributing.
His defense has been stellar. He has eight defensive runs saved according to Fangraphs and he’s in the top 95 percentile in Outs Above Average, according to Baseball Savant. While maybe not appreciated as much as hitting homers, the Yankees’ complete reversal of their defense from 28th overall last season (according to Fangraphs) to third this year is a big part of their success.
Still, the Yankees felt like there was more offense in the veteran and maybe they are starting to see it.
Suddenly, after just 11 multiple-hit performances in his first 82 games with the Yankees, Donaldson has three in his last seven. Since the calendar turned to August, Donaldson has slashed .385/.467/.76 (10-for-26) with six extra-base hits with eight RBI and a 1.263 OPS.
That improves his season numbers to a more respectable .231/.310/.405 through 364 plate appearances. He still has the lowest hard hit percentage of his career since 2018 and the highest strikeout rate (27.2%) and lowest walk rate (9.6%) since StatCast began tracking those numbers in 2015.
Donaldson, who missed time after getting a cortisone shot in his shoulder back in June, said he has started to feel more like himself at the plate.
“The last two weeks I’ve felt like my at-bats have certainly been more consistent to where I’ve felt like my swing was getting off more,” Donaldson said after Monday night’s 9-4 win over the Mariners. “Confidence wise and my body awareness at the plate right now is definitely the best I’ve had this season.”