White Sox

Carlos Rodon finishes 2015 strong as White Sox beat Yankees

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Carlos Rodon finishes 2015 strong as White Sox beat Yankees

NEW YORK — His command was wobbly against the second-best offense in the majors as Carlos Rodon pitched for the first time at Yankee Stadium.

In spite of all of those challenges, the rookie continued an outstanding sprint to the finish on Friday night, leading the White Sox to a 5-2 victory over the New York Yankees. Even though he put 12 runners on base, Rodon only allowed two runs in six innings to win his third straight — and final — start of 2015. Mike Olt and Gordon Beckham homered off C.C. Sabathia in support of Rodon, who posted a 1.81 ERA over his last eight starts.

“He didn’t have his best control, but he learned how to get through it with a professional lineup,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You have to be able to weasel your way out of some tough situations, and he did it. It wasn’t the prettiest he’s had. But you’re looking at a lineup that is a little bit older and has some savvy, and I thought he really bowed his neck and looked great.”

Nothing about Friday’s start — one Ventura confirmed would be the lefty’s last this season — was easy for Rodon aside from his first inning of work. He struck out two in the opening frame and retired Alex Rodriguez on a fly out to deep center.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Trayce Thompson passes another test in Yankee Stadium debut]

The Yankees — who on July 31 knocked Rodon out after three innings and eight runs — proceeded to make him work overtime the rest of the way. He hit a batter and walked one in both the second and third innings.

The fourth inning provided Rodon’s biggest test as he allowed a pair of tough-luck singles before Trayce Thompson made a fantastic catch in right for the first out. Rodon walked Rob Refsnyder to load the bases, and No. 9 hitter Didi Gregorious tied the game with a two-run single. Brett Gardner then singled to reload the bases, but Rodon induced an inning-ending double play off Chase Headley’s bat.

Rodon worked around a walk and a wild pitch in the fifth inning to preserve a 2-all tie. Then in the sixth, Refsnyder doubled and Gregorious walked with one out only to have Gardner hit into an inning-ending double play.

“It was definitely a little off,” Rodon said. “I was trying to get ahead. I was trying to pound the zone and make them swing the bat. It wasn’t happening like times before.

“Luckily, defensively we had guys behind me making plays.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: Beltran's homer costly as Chris Sale nears strikeout record]

Rodon gave up five hits, walked five, hit two and struck out four in six innings.

Since Aug. 5, Rodon allowed 38 hits, 13 runs (11 earned), walked 21 and struck out 49 in 54 2/3 innings. In the same span, Rodon lowered his earned-run average from 5.00 to 3.75.

“He’s come a long way since the start,” said closer David Robertson, who converted his 32nd save with a scoreless ninth inning. “I think he’s realizing now he doesn’t have to throw full speed all the time to get guys out in the big leagues, and I hope he continues on that path because he’s something special, this guy. He’s got exceptional stuff, and I think in the years coming he’s going to prove himself as one of the aces in this league.”

Rodon said he’s happy with the way he developed this season and feels much more comfortable in the clubhouse. One critical element in his ascent has been a reduced walk rate. After he walked 50 batters in his first 84 2/3 innings, Rodon only walked 21 in the last 54 2/3.

“There’s room to get better,” Rodon said. “You have an idea about what you have to do. I’ve been through it once here, so hopefully I feel more comfortable next year.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: Robertson's first trip back to Yankee Stadium 'a little different']

Ventura would agree with Rodon’s self-evaluation and is pleased with how his young charge handled himself. From a much-ballyhooed pitching prospect in spring, Ventura thinks Rodon has developed into just one of the guys as he has worked to prove himself over and over this season. The fourth-year manager is really impressed with how Rodon fared given he faced the Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians each two times in his final 10 starts.

“You’re impressed with what he’s done since he's been up here,” Ventura said. “He has learned a lot. He had a lot of things you would like to see him get in his first year in the big leagues. Finishing it off here against a team like this is something you want to see him do, especially after seeing him the first time, and it didn’t go so well.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

In Part 2 of "Ask Us Anything" we answer the following questions: Who will be the biggest free agent the White Sox sign this off-season? What are the chances they trade Avi Garcia before the deadline? What's your assessment so far of Luis Robert?  Who's on your all-time busted prospect list? Is Omar Vizquel the next White Sox manager? Would the 1994 White Sox have won the World Series if there wasn't a strike?  What's the long term plan at third base? These questions and many more on this edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

If you missed Part 1 of 'Ask Us Anything', you can listen to the full episode here 

Listen to the full Part 2 of 'Ask Us Anything' at this link or in the embedded player below: 

 

White Sox catching prospect mentioned in some elite company

White Sox catching prospect mentioned in some elite company

White Sox catching prospect Zack Collins is being talked about in some elite company after a recent accomplishment.

Collins participated in the Southern League Home Run Derby in Double-A earlier this evening for the Birmingham Barons, and he secured his first career home run derby win.

Now, this is cool, thanks to NBC Sports Chicago’s stats guru Chris Kamka: Dating way back to 1895, Babe Ruth was born on Feb. 6, 1895. Collins was born on the same day as Ruth, but 100 years later.

It’s still way too early to make any sort of comparisons, but it’s a fun way to connect the two.

Collins so far this season is hitting .267 with 9 HR, 33 RBI’s and 59 BB in 62 games. Those walks lead the Southern League. The next highest is 39.

Collins is hitting much better than he did when he was with Single-A Winston-Salem last season. Collins hit a mere .233 in 101 games.

Think about this too. Rick Hahn mentioned several White Sox prospects will get promotions in the coming days. Could this mean Collins will get his opportunity? We’ll just have to wait and see.