Carlos Rodon wasn’t around long enough on Monday night to watch the White Sox offense yet again struggle.
The youngster turned in the shortest outing by a White Sox starting pitcher since August 2003 as he recorded only one out before the Los Angeles Angels knocked him out of the game. Rodon allowed five first-inning runs and Hector Santiago cruised against his former team in a 7-0 blowout of the White Sox in front of 14,706 at U.S. Cellular Field. Santiago tied a career-high with 10 strikeouts and combined with two relievers on a three-hit shutout to send the White Sox to their third straight loss.
“Carlos didn't have it tonight,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “They did a good job putting it in play. He just seemed to be all over the place and he couldn't get through.”
Whereas he had commanded his pitches well in his last 10 starts, Rodon didn’t have any Monday. He fell behind in the count to eight of the nine batters he faced and issued early walks to Albert Pujols and Mike Trout to load the bases with one out.
Fastball, slider, change -- it didn’t matter -- Rodon couldn’t consistently throw a strike with any of them.
“Felt good coming out and it just wasn’t there,” Rodon said. “No command, nothing. Just didn’t make it happen.”
All of the sudden, the White Sox bullpen went on alert.
“You see it unfold, you never want to see it,” reliever Zach Duke said. “But you switch gears real quick and realize we’re going to have to cover a lot and do whatever it takes.”
Rodon hoped he could get through three or four innings. The Angels made sure he didn’t escape the first.
Still scoreless and with the bags loaded, Kole Calhoun began a stretch of five straight one-out singles -- only C.J. Cron didn’t score a run -- that helped Los Angeles bust the game wide open. Andrelton Simmons’ single produced two runs as Jose Abreu cut off Adam Eaton’s throw home and tried to flip the ball to first, only to fling it to the dugout screen, which made it 3-0. Geovany Soto followed with an RBI single, Cron singled and Johnny Giavotella ended Rodon’s night with an RBI single.
Rodon’s ERA rose from 1.38 to 4.73 by the time threw his 41st and final pitch.
Injuries aside, Rodon’s start was the shortest by a White Sox starter since August 28, 2003 when manager Jerry Manuel opted to start Neal Cotts over Mark Buehrle at Yankee Stadium.
“It’s just one of those games,” Eaton said. “Every pitcher has them, from the best, Chris Sale, to other pitchers. (Rodon) learned from it.
“He’s a heck of a competitor. And talking to him about his failures and how he can learn from it and get better as we all do, I think he’ll only be better in the long run for this outing.”
The bullpen isn’t in great shape in the interim.
Jake Petricka ended the 25-minute top of the first inning when he induced a double play off Yunel Escobar’s bat.
At the point of Rodon’s exit, the biggest question became who would record the final 26 outs for the White Sox, who are without a true long reliever on the 25-man roster.
Petricka recorded eight outs with a run allowed on 33 pitches.
Zach Putnam retired the side in order in three straight innings on 34 pitches while Dan Jennings allowed a run in two innings and threw 49 pitches. Duke pitched a scoreless ninth for the White Sox, who are in the midst of a stretch with 19 games in 19 days.
Afterward, the White Sox optioned outfielder J.B. Shuck to Triple-A Charlotte to make room for an additional pitcher, who will be added before Tuesday’s game.
“It would have been nice to go three or four for the guys instead of a third of an inning and get one out,” Rodon said. “Just didn’t happen today.
“Just kind of forget about it. I had nine innings of baseball to think about it. Tomorrow’s a new day and this team has gotta win, we’ve got to get out of this losing streak and get this thing going again.”
Santiago made easy work of his former team, which has become a trend of late.
The left-hander pitched out of a jam in the first as Todd Frazier flew out and Melky Cabrera lined out to third to strand two. That began a stretch where Santiago retired 14 of 15 batters, including seven strikeouts. Santiago struck out two more in the sixth as he worked around an Adam Eaton double and a Frazier walk. He retired the side in order in his seventh and final inning and allowed two hits and three walks.
The White Sox have scored 15 runs in the past seven games and only five in their last four.
“They're going to have to figure this one out,” Ventura said. “It was up and down the lineup.”