Probably the biggest starting pitcher snub for the American League in last month's All-Star Game was White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease. Because every team has to have at least one player, he was essentially squeezed out. He appears to be taking out his possible frustrations on the rest of the league, as no AL pitcher is dominating like he is. Cease takes the mound Friday at Texas with the White Sox as -190 favorites at Caesars Sportsbook.
Cease (11-4) ranks second in the AL with a 2.01 ERA, 161 strikeouts, and 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings (he also ranks first in mustache WAR). Ever since he allowed seven runs in three innings on May 24 in a home loss to the Red Sox, Cease has not allowed more than one earned run in 12 straight starts to join the New York Mets' Jacob deGrom (2021) as the only starters (non-openers) since 1913 to accomplish that feat. Cease was the AL Pitcher of the Month for both June and July, and he is the only AL pitcher in modern baseball history with consecutive months of at least 40 strikeouts and a sub-1.00 ERA.
The right-hander isn't perfect, though, as last time out his career-high 21.2-inning scoreless streak came to an end after allowing a solo homer to Oakland's Ramón Laureano in the second inning last Sunday. Cease still won his career-high fourth straight start.
Houston's Justin Verlander is the -125 favorite at Caesars (try typing Caesars and Cease 10 times fast) to win the Cy Young and Tampa Bay's Shane McClanahan is +250. Both of them were named All-Stars, although Verlander passed on the game. Cease is third on the futures odds at +460.
The White Sox haven't had a Cy Young winner since Jack McDowell in 1993. Cease has not faced Texas this year but is 2-0 with a 3.14 ERA, 24 strikeouts and a .204 opponents' batting average in three career starts against the Rangers. He has been better on the road this season at 6-1 with a 1.30 ERA, allowing all of seven earned runs in in 48.1 innings with 62 strikeouts.
Tonight, Cease is set at Over/Under 7.5 strikeouts, 4.5 hits allowed, 1.5 earned runs and -110 to record a win (i.e., he personally has to win, not just the White Sox).
While Chicago is chasing the AL Central title/Wild Card spot, the Rangers are in full tank mode. Texas gave two rookies their first big-league start in Thursday's series opener, pitcher Cole Ragans and outfielder Bubba Thompson. It's Glenn Otto (4-7, 5.50 ERA) on the mound Friday for the Rangers. At home, he's 2-3 with a 7.39 ERA.
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