There was not as much hoopla surrounding Dylan Cease’s second start of his big-league career Tuesday.
Not that the attention changes Cease’s approach.
“I’m just focused on executing pitches,” Cease said Monday. “I don’t usually make too big of a picture for myself. It’s the same, just execute and do as good as I can for the team.”
Cease made his debut July 3, allowing three runs on four hits in five innings and earned the win against the Tigers. He struck out six and walked four.
Cease was looking forward to getting back on the mound.
“I think it will be 12 days in between starts,” Cease said, “It’s a long time, but I’m not worried about it by any means.”
Cease couldn’t recall if he ever has had a healthy break of this length.
“During a season, I don’t think I have,” Cease said. “But I’ve been throwing every day.”
Cease is eager to do his part to stabilize the Sox rotation. Ace Lucas Giolito started Monday in the first of a four-game series against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Cease then took the ball Tuesday and allowed six runs, four of them earned, in six innings of work in a Royals blowout win, 11-0 at Kauffman Stadium.
“If we can settle down a little bit, if our rotation can give us some length, it gives our bullpen a little bit of time to rest and we’ve been able to manage that a little easier,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “It would help us significantly for our rotation to settle down.
“Having those guys in there, with Cease here with us now, getting Dylan Covey back [from the injured list], hopefully they can give us a little boost.”
The Sox saw a positive sign Sunday out of Reynaldo Lopez, who allowed one unearned run on three hits in six innings in the series finale against the A’s.
“We were really happy with his outing,” Renteria said. “It’s one of those things where he’s had some up and down moments this season, but he threw very well against that club. All and all he was efficient, commanded. It’s a good sign. It’s one of those things we hope he will continue to repeat in terms of execution. That was a good start for him and hopefully that will continue.”
Cease spent his time between starts following his usual five-day routine.
“During the All-Star break, I threw one of those days but pretty much took a couple of days off,” Cease said. “Now it’s just back into the lifting, arm care, throwing that I would do as if I were to start.”
Cease said going forward, he anticipates being on the mound every fifth or sixth day.
He embraces the expectations that come with being a top prospect. He is the No. 3 prospect in the organization and the No. 18 prospect in all of baseball.
“I expect a lot out of myself,” Cease said. “The more you expect, the better, really. As long as I don’t let it get to my head or put too much pressure on myself, and I just worry about my process, good things should happen.”
“You can’t really avoid [the expectations], but I think doing the best that you can to prepare and execute pitches, really just controlling what I can control. I don’t mind the big expectations, it’s a good thing.”