Chicago White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease finishes 2nd to Justin Verlander for the AL Cy Young Award: ‘It really is surreal’

Guaranteed Rate Field was abuzz on Aug. 16 with the starting pitchers as the center of the attention.

Dylan Cease took the mound for the Chicago White Sox, squaring off against Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander.

Many figured then that the two would finish near the top of the American League Cy Young Award voting. That turned out to be the case, with Verlander winning the award Wednesday and Cease placing second.

Verlander had 210 points and Cease 97 in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Alek Manoah of the Toronto Blue Jays was third with 87 points.

“It’s one of those things that really hasn’t sunk in yet,” Cease said after the announcement. “Growing up, it’s hard to imagine even being in that position. I really loved and watched baseball a lot, so to be sitting here now it really is surreal.”

Miami Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara won the NL award. Alcantara, 27, beat out the Atlanta Braves’ Max Fried and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Julio Urías.

It marked just the second time that both Cy Young winners were unanimous. Bob Gibson and Denny McLain also won unanimously in 1968.

Cease, 26, had shown signs of success since being called up by the Sox in July 2019. He put it all together in 2022, going 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA and 227 strikeouts in 32 starts.

Verlander went 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA in 28 starts. It’s his third Cy Young Award, having won in 2011 with the Detroit Tigers and 2019 with the Astros.

Verlander led the AL in wins, ERA, WHIP (0.83) and opponents average (.186).

The Sox have three Cy Young Award winners: Early Wynn (1959), LaMarr Hoyt (1983) and Jack McDowell (1993). Cease’s finish is the highest by a White Sox pitcher since Esteban Loaiza also was second in 2003. Lance Lynn finished third in 2021.

Cease was second in the AL in ERA, strikeouts and opponents’ average (.190) and third in strikeouts per nine innings (11.1). His strikeout total ranks eighth in Sox history, and the 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings is the fifth-highest ratein team history.

He reached double-digits in strikeouts four times, including a career-high 13 against the Baltimore Orioles on June 26 at Guaranteed Rate. He reached nine strikeouts four other times.

“It was big,” Cease said of his breakout season. “A lot of years of effort and some failures and some successes. (It) really all came together and by far it was my most consistent year I’ve ever had as a professional.

“To show that upward trajectory and continue to improve is the name of the game. Now it’s maintaining that and continuing to show up and do what needs to be done.”

Cease went at least six innings while allowing just one hit in four games. He struck out 11 while allowing one hit in seven innings May 2 against the Los Angeles Angels and had 11 strikeouts in six one-hit innings June 21 against the Blue Jays. Cease struck out eight in …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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