Dylan Cease is named an AL Cy Young Award finalist after a standout season for the Chicago White Sox starter
Dylan Cease was locked in on Sept. 3.
The Chicago White Sox right-hander walked Jake Cave in the third inning and Gilberto Celestino in the sixth but didn’t allow anything else through eight innings against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Cease retired the first two batters in the ninth before Luis Arraez spoiled the no-hit bid with a single to right-center.
It was a signature performance in a standout season for Cease, who was named a finalist for the American League Cy Young Award on Monday along with Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros and Alek Manoah of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Cease, 26, went 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA in 32 starts. He finished second in the AL in ERA, strikeouts (227) and opponents average (.190) and third in strikeouts per nine innings (11.10).
“It was a really great season,” Cease said after his final start of the year Oct. 1 in San Diego, giving credit to pitching coach Ethan Katz and catchers Seby Zavala and Yasmani Grandal. “Definitely a lot of improvements.”
Cease’s slider was one of the best pitches in baseball and it was on display throughout the season, including a stretch of 14 consecutive starts from May 29 to Aug. 11 in which he allowed one earned run or none. He became the first major-league starter (not counting “openers”) since 1913 to accomplish the feat.
The Sox have had three Cy Young Award winners: Early Wynn (1959), LaMarr Hoyt (1983) and Jack McDowell (1993). They’ve had contenders as recently as last year, when starter Lance Lynn finished third in the voting.
Verlander, 39, won the award in 2011 with the Detroit Tigers and 2019 with the Astros. He went 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA in 28 starts this season.
“It’s cool,” Cease said on Oct. 1 of being considered with Verlander. “I’ve been watching him since I was young. To be competing against him in a way like that is really cool, and obviously he’s had an incredible year. It was fun to watch.”
The two started an Aug. 16 game at Guaranteed Rate Field. Neither factored in the decision in a 4-3 Sox victory. Cease allowed three runs on six hits with four strikeouts in five innings. Verlander allowed three runs on eight hits with four strikeouts in seven innings.
Verlander missed the 2021 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He made one start in 2020 before going on the injured list three days later with a right forearm strain.
He came back in a big way in 2022, leading the AL in wins, ERA, WHIP (0.83) and opponents average (.186).
Manoah, 24, went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA in 31 starts. He was third in the AL in wins and ERA and fourth in innings pitched (196⅔) and WHIP (0.99).
The award is voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and will be announced Nov. 16.