His debut may not have gone as he hoped but after a good night’s sleep, Carlos Rodon is ready for the next opportunity.
The left-hander - the No. 8 overall prospect according to Baseball Prospectus - allowed two earned runs and three hits with three walks in 2 1/3 innings. He struck out one.
Freshly shaven, Rodon said Wednesday morning he only remembers some of what happened in his major league debut Tuesday night - “It went by so quick,” he said.
One of the few details Rodon recalls about the bullpen session prior to his outing is that the slider was non-existent. Each one he threw resembled his putaway slider, which is normally reserved for when he’s ahead in the count and is hard to throw for a strike. The command issues carried over to the game as Rodon threw 29 strikes and 31 balls.
“At first I felt a little all over the place,” Rodon said. “Near the end as I was actually about to go in I threw a good slider and I threw actually a couple of good changeups. I actually probably felt most comfortable with my changeup, but I just didn’t (throw it). I throw it because it helps you mechanically and that’s when I was struggling a little everywhere. So they were good and the last fastball I threw was right down the middle.
“You just want to get it over, throw it over the plate. It’s simple, right? But easier said than done.”
Pregame instructor/bullpen catcher Adam Ricks caught Rodon as he warmed up. A former Sox minor leaguer from 2004-11, Ricks noticed Rodon didn’t have his best command. Ricks caught Rodon several times in spring training and once during SoxFest in January.
“I’m sure he was geeked up and excited,” Ricks said.
So were White Sox fans seated next to the team’s left-field bullpen. Rodon didn’t pay any attention to his surroundings, but Ricks couldn’t help but notice the unusually extra attention being paid to the pitcher.
“The people who were there were pretty into it,” Ricks said. “They were cheering for him. It was almost like they were ready. It was kind of cool. It wasn’t your typical bullpen guy warming up.”
If he heard any of the cheers, Rodon doesn’t remember. Normally a starting pitcher, Rodon is still trying to get the hang of entering in the middle of a game. After only one game, Rodon feels pretty good about the process.
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“Figuring out the routine for the first time, which wasn’t bad,” Rodon said. “I kind of had that down. Figuring out how much I needed to throw to get ready to go in the game and from there a long run.”
Rodon and the White Sox are hopeful Tuesday’s performance was just a minor footnote in a long career. He’s ready for Round 2 and shaved his mustache down to “change the juju up,” Rodon said. Not that he didn’t know it before, but Rodon also came away with a big league lesson: everything isn’t always going to be perfect. He threw the slider, his bread and butter, only 11 times in 60 pitches. Three went for strikes.
“It’s going to be like that sometimes,” Rodon said. "Come out, there’s not going to be a slider. Sometimes I won’t have a fastball and I’ll have just a slider. You’ve got to learn how to make that adjustment.”