White Sox

White Sox: Carlos Rodon's prep between starts pays off

carlosrodoninsiderslide.png

White Sox: Carlos Rodon's prep between starts pays off

HOUSTON -- The work Carlos Rodon put in between starts made a significant difference on Friday night.

Focused on command of his fastball and slider in two bullpen sessions with pitching coach Don Cooper, Rodon mostly worked ahead in the count during Friday’s 11-inning White Sox win over the Houston Astros. After he walked 15 batters in 16 innings the previous three starts, Rodon walked none in 6 1/3 innings as he threw strikes on 58 of 92 pitches.

“Those sides with Coop really helped,” Rodon said. “Made some adjustments and down to basics, just throw strikes. That’s all you can do and all you can control.

“Attacked the zone fine today. Lot of early swings seemed like. Just fastball command was good and got guys out, got ahead.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: X-rays of Jose Abreu's finger are negative]

Before Friday, Rodon hadn’t pitched since May 20. Though longer layoffs normally can disrupt a pitcher’s rhythm, Cooper felt this one was necessary.

The pair used the time to do specific work. Though the White Sox eventually want Rodon to develop a feel for his changeup, his fastball and slider command first needs to improve. In the previous starts, Rodon threw 55 of 99 four-seam fastballs for strikes, 65 of 107 sinkers and 53 of 94 sliders, according to brooksbaseball.net, meaning he only got strikes with his best pitches 57.7 percent of the time.

They also focused on paying more attention to base runners.

On Friday, Rodon threw strikes on 55 of 83 (66.7 percent) of his sliders, four-seamers and sinkers. He also kept Houston’s running game in check even though the Astros -- whose 42 steals are second in the American League -- had plenty of chances.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“Work days are real work days with him,” Cooper said. “We need to get some work in there to work on a few things. Work on all of his pitches for strikes, work on being quicker to the plate to hold the running game, to address everything we’re seeing as things that need improvement. To have the two sidelines we did, I was happy with that.”

Rodon limited Houston to three runs (one earned) and eight hits. He struck out five and looked more like the pitcher who tamed the Cincinnati Reds threw weeks ago than the one who labored against Oakland and Cleveland.

“Kid threw great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Carlos battled. Did everything, had some bad breaks. I thought he pitched great, throwing strikes, commanding stuff. Had to deal with the chopper over first. But with a team here that swings it like they do, he did a good job.”

Michael Kopech electric in start vs. Pawtucket

Michael Kopech electric in start vs. Pawtucket

The Charlotte Knights took on the Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday night in a high-profile minor league game due to White Sox No. 2 prospect Michael Kopech being on the mound. 

Kopech, the 22-yearold old flame throwing right-hander, has been collecting impressive strikeout totals but has struggled with his control. He had issued 15 walks over his last five starts, and prior to Thursday's game his ERA was 4.48. But Kopech shined in all facets against Pawtucket.

In six innings of work, Kopech allowed one earned run on seven hits, and had nine strikeouts. But the most important part of his game was that fact that he only issued one walk in the start.

Prior to Thursday's game, Kopech had 122 strikeouts and 57 walks over 88.1 innings pitched. If he continues to cut down his walks he will become a very efficient pitcher in the future. 

But the performance is important in the context of the White Sox losing season, as a lack of control is perhaps the last thing holding Kopech back from being able to make his major league debut.

 

Lucas Giolito has some fun with the not so dark side of his Twitter history

giolito719.jpg
USA TODAY

Lucas Giolito has some fun with the not so dark side of his Twitter history

White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito isn't having a great season, but at least it looks like his Twitter account could pass a background check.

A Twitter user dug through some of Giolito's tweets from his teenage years. He didn't find much in the way of hateful, mean or angry tweets. Instead, he found candy, touch tanks at the aquarium and animated movies.

The tweet got plenty of attention on the platform, leading Giolito to comment on it. Giolito took the joke with a good sense of humor and made a joke at his own expense.

This kind of makes you wonder what else would qualify as Giolito's "dark side." Maybe this will spawn a series of Lucas Giolito facts like the very tame version of Chuck Norris or The Most Interesting Man in the World.