Chicago White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease entered Tuesday night's start against the Boston Red Sox (GameTracker) having thus far authored one of the best seasons among American League pitchers. Unfortunately for Cease, his marks won't look quite as impressive come Wednesday morning.
Cease lasted just three innings against the Red Sox, surrendering seven runs (all earned) on eight hits and two walks. (He also struck out four batters.) It marked the first time this season that he had failed to record at least 12 outs in an appearance. His shortest outing this season prior to Tuesday had occurred on May 12, when he pitched four innings against the New York Yankees.
Cease's problems on Tuesday began immediately. He gave up a leadoff home run to Enrique Hernandez, and then later yielded a three-run shot to Trevor Story to give the Red Sox a 4-0 lead after the first. Hernandez would plate another run on a double in the second, and would then score on a J.D. Martinez single to make it a 6-0 margin. The Red Sox would extend their lead to 7-0 on a fielder's choice off Jackie Bradley Jr.'s bat in the third.
Cease came into Tuesday's game with a 3.09 ERA (122 ERA+) and a 3.94 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first eight starts. His 1.4 Wins Above Replacement, as determined by Baseball Reference's calculations, ranked ninth among all AL pitchers. His brutal outing against the Red Sox means he'll head into his next start with an ERA up all the way to 4.24.
The story of the night from the Red Sox's perspective, meanwhile, might be the continued hotness of the aforementioned Story. He's now homered seven times in his last 10 games (and eight in his last 12 games), all the while driving in 17 runs. Story had previously homered once and driven in just 15 runs over his first 27 games in Boston.