Dylan Cease has made a habit of dominating Detroit batters. The Tigers will have to deal with the Chicago White Sox right-hander again in the finale of a four-game series on Sunday afternoon.
Cease has started against the Tigers 13 times in his career, compiling a 10-1 record and 1.72 ERA. The loss came last July and Detroit didn't exactly solve Cease. He held the Tigers to one run and three hits in six innings but Detroit pulled out a 2-1 victory.
Cease has also racked up 88 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings in those starts.
Heading into this start, Cease has delivered three straight quality outings. He's given up five runs in 18 1/3 innings during that span, though his strikeout numbers are down. He hasn't struck out more than six batters in his last nine outings.
On Tuesday, Cease (3-3, 4.60 ERA) held Cleveland to two runs and five hits in six innings. He only struck out three but came away with a boost of confidence.
"If I'm executing well and I'm not winning, I can live with it," he said. "If I'm not executing well, it can kind of drive me crazy. Definitely the best I've felt in quite a while. I feel like I'm getting really close to syncing everything up."
He'll be opposed by Detroit's Eduardo Rodriguez (4-4, 2.19). The left-hander has cooled off in his last two starts after an overpowering stretch in which he held opponents to two runs in 41 2/3 innings.
Pittsburgh scored twice as many runs off him in five innings on May 17. He once again gave up four runs in five innings to Kansas City on Tuesday, though only two were earned. A throwing error by shortstop Javier Baez led to two runs.
"Errors happen," Rodriguez said. "I just try to execute the next pitch. They made good swings. I don't put pressure on myself. Right away I just want to get the ground ball double-play after I see the error. That's not a big deal to me."
The White Sox could get a boost to their lineup on Sunday. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez is expected to be activated off the injured list after recovering from an appendectomy and completing a rehab assignment.
Baez likely will return to the Tigers' lineup after getting Saturday off. He went 0-for-4 in the Tigers' 12-3 loss on Friday.
Detroit won two of the first three games of the series, including its 7-3 triumph on Saturday.
Zack Short, who filled in for Baez, hit a two-run homer in the eighth. Short has three homers and is batting .310.
Zach McKinstry had three hits, including a homer, and drove in two runs. McKinstry has emerged as the Tigers' usual leadoff hitter and with good reason. He's batting .291 with a .410 on-base percentage.
"We're having a lot of fun in the dugout and just cheering each other on, making sure we're all locked into the game and having a good time," McKinstry said in a postgame TV interview Saturday. "It can be anyone on any day."
--Field Level Media