After holding the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros in check on Opening Day, Chicago White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease now braces for the slugging San Francisco Giants
San Francisco, which clubbed seven home runs Monday to spoil Chicago's home opener, will look to stay hot as the series continues Wednesday following an open date.
"I think it was just continuing to get our ‘A' swings off," Giants third baseman David Villar said. "The important thing for us is continuing to get those really good swings off and not being hesitant about making them. If we're going to make a swing, let's make it with intent. I think that really showed [Monday], one through nine.
Villar led the surge from the No. 6 hole, homering twice while collecting five RBIs. He had one of the team's four fifth-inning home runs against White Sox starter Michael Kopech
Cease (0-0, 1.42 ERA) stands in San Francisco's way after limiting the Astros to one run and two hits in 6 1/3 innings Thursday.
The runner-up in the 2022 American League Cy Young race, Cease walked zero while fanning 10, matching Jack McDowell's 1991 club record for most strikeouts in the season opener.
"That's about as sharp as I've ever been," Cease said. "Really even the last couple of weeks I felt locked in, and so I just followed that process and trusted in it."
From teammate Andrew Vaughn's perch, Cease's approach is working.
"That's so impressive watching him pitch," Vaughn said. "It's unbelievable what he can do with the baseball."
San Francisco ace Logan Webb (0-1, 6.00) is eager to rebound from an uneven season debut Thursday. Webb fanned a personal-best 12 New York
Yankees in six innings to set a franchise Opening-Day record, but still saw enough of his pitches squared up.
He yielded four runs and four hits, including two homers, in a 5-0 defeat.
"I think Logan pitched about as good a game as he could have hoped and all of us could have hoped," Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. "I thought he attacked the strike zone with all of his pitches. It was as efficient as we've seen him in a long time. A lot of swing-and-miss
"Excellent outing by Logan. ... The two homers beat us."
White Sox center fielder Luis Robert has homered in back-to-back games for Chicago, which was out-hit 14-5 in its home opener
The Giants set the tone from the top of their lineup, as Nos. 1-3 hitters Lamonte Wade Jr., Michael Conforto and Thairo Estrada went a combined 6-for-16 with two solo home runs. Estrada fouled a ball off his leg before walking in the ninth inning and left the game for a pinch runner
Cease has faced the Giants once in his career, defeating them in San Francisco on July 2 behind five innings of one-run ball with four hits, three walks and four strikeouts. Wade Jr. reached Cease for a leadoff home run
Webb opposed Cease in that game and took the loss in his only career appearance against Chicago, giving up five runs (three earned) and six hits in six innings with one walk and five strikeouts.
--Field Level Media