White Sox

Carlos Rodon frustrated again after a weird, long day at Wrigley Field

Carlos Rodon frustrated again after a weird, long day at Wrigley Field

Carlos Rodon became the first pitcher in major league history to strike out 11 batters in a start that lasted only four innings in the White Sox 7-2 loss to the Cubs Tuesday at Wrigley Field. That’s the good part of the story of Rodon’s afternoon. 

The bad part of Rodon’s fifth start of the year: The Cubs put six balls in play, but only one went for an out. Willson Contreras launched a three-run home run in the first inning and Rodon issued three walks — including one to pitcher John Lackey — while allowing four runs. Rodon needed 98 pitches to get through four innings as he oscillated between being dominant and hittable. 

“As you see, the command is not there,” Rodon said. “Very inconsistent. Have to find the consistency again, find the strike zone, find the strike zone.”

Perhaps the promising — or maddening, depending on how you look at it — part of Rodon’s start was that he was unhittable at times. Even with a generous strike zone (that led to Kris Bryant’s first career ejection), Rodon’s 11 strikeouts tied a career high. 

“It feels good,” Rodon said. “It’s coming out good. The stuff is there. I’ve punched out 11 before, but you’d think, try to (get) 11 through seven.”

It wasn’t as if the Cubs necessarily sat back and made Rodon come to them, though. The Cubs took 12 of Rodon’s 22 first pitches (eight balls, four strikes), swung at nine (six foul balls, three whiffs) and bunted at one (which went foul). That the Cubs didn’t have a hit on any of those first pitches speaks to Rodon’s stuff, though they were still squaring him up later in at-bats. 

But that stuff hasn’t led to efficiency. Through five starts, Rodon is averaging 4.24 pitches per batter, a higher average than he had in 2016 (3.90) and 2015 (4.02) and higher than 2017’s league average (3.88). 

“… It could be mental,” Rodon said. “Who knows. It’s something we have to figure out.”

Rodon pointed to his final two innings as being encouraging — he threw 39 total pitches in them and didn’t allow a run — and said he felt like he was in a better rhythm in the second half of his start. But he recognizes he has to find that rhythm sooner.

“I would trade those 11 strikeouts in for six or seven innings just to not tax the bullpen to go out there and go that long,” Rodon said. 

One of the ancillary positives to Rodon’s frustration, though, was the line drive double he ripped off John Lackey in the second inning, which brought in the only two runs the White Sox scored on Tuesday. Rodon — who was an accomplished hitter in high school — gapped his double with an exit velocity of 104 miles per hour, just one mile per hour slower than the exit velocity of Willson Contreras’ first inning home run. 

“It’s nice, it gives us a couple of runs,” Rodon said. “Once again, my job is to pitch and not hit. It so happened I got a hit, but four innings is not going to cut it.”

White Sox Podcast: Joc Pederson to the White Sox?

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USA TODAY

White Sox Podcast: Joc Pederson to the White Sox?

Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber discuss the rumor that the White Sox have been in talks with the Dodgers about acquiring outfielder Joc Pederson.

-Good move? Bad move? (1:30)

-What should the White Sox give up for Pederson? (8:30)

-Plus, don't overlook the moves the White Sox have already made this offseason (17:20)

-Why Dane Dunning and Zack Burdi didn't get an invite to White Sox spring training (19:40) and

-Previewing SoxFest (23:15)

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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White Sox & Hall of Famers Cross Paths

White Sox & Hall of Famers Cross Paths

Today is one of my favorite days of the year; the day where the Hall of Fame results are announced. I’m all in favor of a big Hall; I enjoy celebrating the greatness of players, so the more, the merrier. Today we welcome four new members to Cooperstown. 

None of the four ever played for the White Sox, so there’s no White Sox highlights piece to write. However… what about notable games, moments or milestones where the White Sox intersect with one of the newly elected Hall of Famers? 

Below are nine of those.

September 12, 1987
By the time Edgar Martínez entered the game in the 6th inning (as a pinch runner for Jim Presley), Seattle was comfortably ahead by the score of 11-1. His first plate appearance came two innings later when he fouled out against Sox reliever Ray Searage. Welcome to the Majors, Mr. Martínez. It was his Major League debut.

August 4, 1991
The White Sox beat the Orioles 1-0 in a pitcher’s duel at New Comiskey Park. The difference in the score – just one run. The difference in the age of the starting pitchers – over 20 years. Charlie Hough (age 43 years, 211 days) tossed a complete game shutout. Mike Mussina (age 22 years, 239 days) took a tough loss… it was his Major League debut.
By the way, the lone run was a Frank Thomas solo homer in the 6th inning. The Big Hurt went 3 for 3 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk against Mussina. This would become a theme. He homered more against Mussina (9 times) than any other pitcher throughout his Hall of Fame career.

July 4, 1995
The White Sox lost 4-1 against the Yankees on Independence Day. The lone run they scored was a John Kruk RBI single in the 9th inning off Yankees closer John Wetteland. The Yankee starter that day tossed 8 scoreless innings and struck out 11. It was the only 10+ strikeout performance of Mariano Rivera’s career.

May 2, 2003
Edgar Martínez went 2 for 4 with a walk against the White Sox in a 9-2 win at US Cellular Field. 
The second hit, a 6th inning single off Gary Glover, was the 2,000th hit of his MLB career.

April 11, 2004
The White Sox scored three runs in the top of the first inning in the Bronx off Yankees starter Mike Mussina.
It wasn’t enough. The New Yorkers clawed back and won the game 5-4. It was Mussina’s 200th career win.

July 16, 2006
Mariano Rivera became the 4th member of the 400-save club in a 6-4 win over the White Sox at Yankee Stadium. It was the 11th and final time he had a save of at least 2 innings during the regular season (his first 2-inning save was also against the White Sox on August 14, 1996).

August 8, 2006
Paul Konerko, born in Providence, Rhode Island, set a monumental record on this day. With his 237th home run, he passed Gabby Hartnett for the all-time record for career home runs by players born in the smallest US state. The White Sox were playing the Yankees at home, and the record-setting blast handed Mariano Rivera a blown save, tying the game at 5 in the bottom of the 9th.

May 31, 2007
Mark Buehrle tossed a complete game two-hitter, walking none at the Rogers Centre, which was great except for two things: 
First, both hits were solo home runs. Second, opposing starter Roy Halladay allowed no runs in his seven innings. The Jays won 2-0 and Halladay earned career win number 100.

July 28, 2007
Speedster Jerry Owens played 129 career games – all with the White Sox. 
He also hit one career home run… a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 7th inning to break a scoreless tie. The pitcher? Roy Halladay. It would be the only two runs of a 2-0 White Sox win over the Blue Jays at US Cellular Field.