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Dylan Cease keeps Cubs quiet, throws a career gem against his former team

Dylan Cease keeps Cubs quiet, throws a career gem against his former team

Dylan Cease keeps Cubs quiet, throws a career gem against his former team originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Dylan Cease silenced his native team on Wednesday, tossing seven scoreless innings against the Cubs.

It was a career gem for Cease. He pitched seven innings, allowing just one hit and zero runs. He walked two batters and struck out 12 — one away from tying his single-game career high of 13 strikeouts.

He pitched a whopping 113 pitches — a season-high. What's more impressive, his velocity and command stayed intact through seven innings. That took Craig Counsell by surprise.

"Cease was really good," Counsell said after the game. "When you're seeing 99s in the seventh inning, that's a pitcher that's feeling good. His slider was really, really good today. Obviously, the velocity was good and he threw a ton of strikes."

"He's throwing upper 90s fastball where he wants it with two different breaking balls off that," Ian Happ said. "He did a good job of keeping us off balance. Those days happen."

Remember, the Cubs drafted Cease in the sixth round of the 2014 MLB entry draft. He pitched 2.5 seasons in their farm system, making his way up to Low-A. The Cubs later traded him as a part of a package to the White Sox for starter José Quintana.

After five seasons in the major leagues with the White Sox, they traded him to the Padres just before the beginning of the 2024 campaign. With this series at Wrigley Field being his first return to Chicago since being traded, he opened up about the unenjoyable end to his tenure with the South Side.

"Last year I think that in the minds of a lot of people, we had a really good chance to compete," Cease said. "I think we felt like we had a good chance to compete. We just didn't put it together. We had a really bad year and it obviously kind of led to the need to kinda redo everything.

"I think we just didn't play well. It comes down to did you throw the ball? Did you throw strikes? Did you feel the ball? Did you control the zone? Did you hit? And in a lot of ways we just didn't do a lot of things well in those areas."

MORE: Dylan Cease admits his final season with the White Sox ‘wasn't enjoyable in any way'

Cease went through a rollercoaster during his final seasons in a Sox uniform. The team fell off their positive trajectory the last two seasons he was there, finishing 81-81 in 2022 and 61-101 in 2023. For Cease, personally, his trade value was nearly compromised after a difficult 2023 season.

In 33 starts and 177 innings pitched, Cease finished the season with a 4.58 ERA, 214 strikeouts and 79 walks. His 1.418 WHIP was his worst mark for a season since the shortened 2020 season. That season came after he earned runner-up in the AL Cy Young Award race.

"Last year wasn't enjoyable in any way," Cease said. "But now I can sit here now and say I got a lot out of it. I learned kinda what doesn't work and got back to what is now hopefully working."

It seems to be working. After Wednesday's start, Cease's ERA this season sits at 2.19. He's struck out 60 batters this season (third in MLB) while walking 16 batters. He's inarguably one of the Padres' best assets.

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