White Sox

White Sox Carlos Rodon struggles in major league debut

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White Sox Carlos Rodon struggles in major league debut

Carlos Rodon worked in almost entirely unfamiliar surroundings when he made his major league debut on Tuesday night.

Not only was he in a big league park for the first time, Rodon also pitched out of the bullpen and did so without the aid of trusted slider. All those factors and a wild start in tight spot combined for a less-than-spectacular showing for the team’s top pitching prospect. Rodon allowed two earned runs and three hits with three walks in a 6-2 loss the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday night.

“Just glad I got that out of the way,” Rodon said. “It’s something I have to be ready for. No excuses.”

Five days after Cubs prospect Kris Bryant struggled in his major league debut, Rodon didn’t fare much better.

With runners on the corners and two outs in the sixth inning, the hard-throwing left-hander raced in from the left-field bullpen with Muse’s ‘Uprising’ blasting on the sound system.

After mostly looking sharp throughout the spring with five walks in 17 2/3 innings, Rodon had trouble locating his fastball. Throwing a steady diet of hitters -- only two of his 15 pitches in the sixth were sliders -- Rodon walked the first man he faced, Brandon Moss, on four pitches to load the bases. After falling behind White Sox-killer Ryan Raburn 2-0 in the count, Rodon’s seventh pitch went for his first strike. His fastball sat between 95-98 as he and Raburn battled to a full count.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Raburn fouled off three in a row before he did to Rodon what he does to all White Sox pitchers and got just enough of another 98-mph heater -- despite a broken bat -- to dump it into left field for a two-run single.

Lonnie Chisenhall, who later would become Rodon’s first strikeout victim, grounded out to third to end the sixth.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura turned to Rodon because starter Hector Noesi -- who hadn’t pitched in 11 days -- was at 99 pitches. Asked if he put Rodon in a too big of a spot, Ventura said no. Rodon pitched in the College World Series for North Carolina State and for Team USA in a win over Cuba at Wrigley Field in 2013.

“He’s pitched in some big games,” Ventura said. “He’s pitched in big spots before. So for him, I think its just being in the big leagues. He was amped up and letting it fly.

He was pretty amped up and couldn’t really get it the way he wanted to and place it. But he’s up here for that reason.”

[RELATED: Refurbished White Sox bullpen off to a good start]

Rodon continued to struggle with command in the seventh inning as he walked the first two batters he faced. Two batters later, Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis gave his team a 5-1 lead with a sacrifice fly and Michael Brantley’s two-out RBI single made it a five-run contest.

“He showed a lot of guts,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “We were kind of limited on what we could throw. But he kept being aggressive. We tried to get ahead of guys and even when we didn’t, we didn’t give up any hard-hit balls. That’s a compliment to the kind of stuff he has and once he settles down, he’s going to be a good addition.”

The third inning he pitched was the smoothest for Rodon, though he nearly surrendered his first major league homer as Raburn doubled off the top of the fence in right-center field with one out. But even without the slider -- he threw it for three strikes and eight balls, according to brooksbaseball.net -- Rodon struck out Chisenhall and Roberto Perez grounded out.

“A little all over the place and then finally some command,” Rodon said. “Not where I’m usually at.

“Maybe overthrowing, but there are no excuses. Just have to be good in that situation.”

Ryan Goins, AJ Reed-fueled White Sox rally falls short as losing streak rolls on

Ryan Goins, AJ Reed-fueled White Sox rally falls short as losing streak rolls on

The White Sox came into Wednesday’s matchup with the Kansas City Royals looking to grab that oh so elusive first win in the second half of the season. After yet another disheartening loss, it is safe the team needs a spark to get them back on track. Ozzie Guillen shared a similar concern on White Sox Postgame Live, suggesting that something needs to be done to get the White Sox back on track. 

Kansas City struck first on Wednesday--as they did in the two previous games this series--scoring 2 runs in the 1st.

White Sox starter Ivan Nova struggled mightily with his control in this one. Nova’s final line was: 6 H, 5 BB, 6 ER in 4.2 innings pitched. The White Sox bullpen put out a decent effort--a combination of Jace Fry, Alex Colome, and Kelvin Herrera--pitched 3.1 innings, giving up 6 hits and one run. But by the time Fry entered in relief of Nova in the bottom of the 5th, the Sox were down 5-0 and Fry himself gave up the lone relief run on a Nicky Lopez single to make the score 6-0 Royals heading into the sixth.

The White Sox mounted an impressive last-ditch comeback effort led by pinch-hitter AJ Reed and new Sox shortstop Ryan Goins but alas it was too little, too late. Goins led off the scoring for the White Sox with a two-run homer in the top of the 6th for his first hit as a member of the White Sox. 

It was a heck of a first game for Goins, who joined the White Sox from the Triple-A Charlotte 

(Knights) on Wednesday. He went 2-for-3 at the plate, helping contribute to Chicago’s 10 hits on the evening. After Goins' two-run blast, the Chicago offense went quiet until the very end. 

In the 9th inning, Welington Castillo struck out swinging with Jon Jay and Jose Abreu already on-base. With Ryan Cordell up to bat next, White Sox manager Rick Renteria chose to pinch-hit for Cordell with another new member of the Sox, 26-year old AJ Reed.

The hope is that Reed will bring some solid production to the DH spot for the struggling Sox and he took a big step in the right direction on Wednesday night.

Reed’s massive 436-foot homer was a three-run blast that cut the deficit down to two runs and also created a neat piece of history in the process.

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Despite the fact that Goins and Reed both hit their first home runs as members of the White Sox, Chicago came up short as the rally stopped at Reed’s three-run homer. Following Reed’s at-bat, the Royals brought in Ian Kennedy to face Yolmer Sánchez. Kennedy notched the save for the Royals after getting Sánchez to line out on six pitches, sealing the White Sox season-high six-straight loss. 

Fortunately for the White Sox, they will have the chance to get some payback right away, with their series with Kansas City coming to a close on Thursday at 12:15 p.m. CST. 

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Why Harold Baines belongs in the Hall of Fame

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Why Harold Baines belongs in the Hall of Fame

: With Harold Baines being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Chuck Garfien sits down with White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Baines former teammate Ron Kittle who explain why Baines is a worthy Hall of Famer. But first, Chuck speaks with Ryan McGuffey and Chris Kamka about the controversy surrounding his induction (1:30) and what made Baines such a special player and deserving of Cooperstown (5:00).  Then, Kittle talks about why he'd "take a bullet" for Baines (13:00), his message to critics who believe Baines shouldn't be in the Hall (17:20) and more. Reinsdorf explains why the committee he was apart of voted Baines into the Hall of Fame (22:00), how tough it was to trade Baines to Texas for Sammy Sosa (24:30), the story behind retiring Baines number a month after trading him (26:10) and more.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: