White Sox

Carlos Rodon pitches around five walks in White Sox loss

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Carlos Rodon pitches around five walks in White Sox loss

Major league hitters have shown Carlos Rodon they’re not afraid to lay off his wicked slider-fastball combo.

One outing after he issued six walks, the rookie walked five more batters in a six-inning start on Wednesday. He was much better this time as he limited the Cleveland Indians to one run but Rodon has room for improvement. The White Sox lost to the Indians, 4-3, at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday.

“I mean it’s different, guys are a little more patient,” Rodon said. “You just have to throw strikes. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, that’s it right there.”

When Rodon was promoted last month, general manager Rick Hahn said this would be the final step in the left-hander’s development. Even with top-flight talent, the White Sox expect some growing pains for Rodon.

In his second and third starts, Rodon ran into patient clubs in the Oakland A’s and Cleveland Indians, teams that weren’t chasing his slider. Rodon only threw strikes on 13 of 29 sliders on Wednesday, according to Brooksbaseball.net.

“They lay off those good sliders that usually get chased (in college),” Rodon said. “They got in those counts where they can hit and it’s tough.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Holding a 1-0 lead, Rodon issued a leadoff walk to Jose Ramirez in the sixth and he stole second base. Rodon then walked Ryan Raburn before Nick Swisher singled to load the bases with one out. Mike Aviles’ sac fly tied the game at 1 but Rodon stranded a pair of runners when he got Brandon Moss to fly out to deep left.

Same as he did out West, Rodon flirted with trouble in the early innings. He stranded a pair of runners in the first inning and man in scoring position in the second. Two double plays got Rodon out of trouble in the third and fourth innings.

“The way he fought back and got out of (the sixth) was a positive,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “As he goes along he's going to get better with command and things like that. The stuff is there, definitely. But cleaning it up, being able to get through that without giving the other team opportunities, you've got to make them beat you. You can't give them stuff like that.”

[MORE: Eaton crushes rare home run in loss]

Rodon has walked 19 batters in 22 1/3 innings. But he likes how he pitched in tight spots on Wednesday, especially with the help of a pair of double plays.

“Not great, not bad, just in between,” said Rodon, who has a 4.03 ERA. “It’s tough with five walks, gets the pitch count up, but two good double plays turned by that tandem right here, one of the best in baseball, I think. Especially when you see those double plays turned right there. That was impressive. But just leadoff walks hurt.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.