Thanks to the arm of rookie Carlos Rodon, and the bat (yes, the bat) of Carlos Sanchez, Chicago completed the four-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians, winning 2-1. It is the team's first sweep in Cleveland since July 14-17 of 2005, when Jose Contreras, Freddy Garcia, Mark Buehrle, and Jon Garland shut down the Indians 19-6 during that stretch.
Fast forward to a decade later, and the likes of Jeff Samardzija, Jose Quintana, Chris Sale, and Rodon were too much for the Tribe, as they were outscored 26-5.
This was a big bounce-back game for Rodon, who struggled against the St. Louis Cardinals in his last start on July 21 due to control problems, and it wasn't an isolated occurrence. In his three previous starts in July, Rodon recorded 19 strikeouts but also walked 13 batters.
In 6⅔ innings, Rodon struck out nine while walking none. It's his only second start of 2015 where Rodon didn't walk a batter (May 29 against the Houston Astros), and his third start with zero earned runs. The only real threat Cleveland mustered was in the seventh inning, after Brandon Moss singled to right field to put runners on the corners. Already at 111 pitches, manager Robin Ventura lifted the rookie for Jake Petricka, who struck out Roberto Perez to end the threat.
Offensively, the White Sox cooled off from its previous three games. While fans couldn't enjoy #PizzaTime, Carlos Sanchez hitting his second home run in as many days is a pleasant substitution. In the top of the third inning, Danny Salazar seemingly had Sanchez where he wanted him with a two-strike count. But Salazar hung a slider over the plate, and Sanchez fluidly crushed it 400-plus feet to right-center field, giving the Sox a 1-0 lead.
Fans had been quite loud as of late in calling for Micah Johnson's return to the big league club. With an OPS of .865 in 62 games at Charlotte, and Sanchez hitting below the Mendoza Line in late June, many thought it was time to make yet again another switch at second base.
Sanchez found a way to step it up. In the last 30 days, all Sanchez has done is go 23-for-72 (.319) with six extra-base hits (four doubles, two home runs). His season batting average now sits at .221.
Chicago increased its lead in the seventh inning, when Sanchez led off with a single. Tyler Saladino, who entered the game without a walk in his very brief rookie season, drew his third of the game to put runners on first and second.
While Sanchez has been heating up, the player that is NBA JAM on fire is Melky Cabrera. He singled in Sanchez to collect his 19th RBI in July and continue his torrid hitting (.338/.365/.597 in his past 30 days). What made this play fun was on the throw from Ryan Raburn, third baseman Mike Aviles made an errant throw to second base in his attempt to pick off Saladino. Both Saladino and Cabrera advanced to second and third. After intentionally walking Jose Abreu to load the bases with two outs, Adam LaRoche struck out swinging to end the threat.
The Indians scored one run in the ninth thanks to a triple by Giovanny Urshela, which should have been caught by Avisail Garcia, but the sun made it more difficult and he missed the play. Urshela scored after David Murphy grounded out to Carlos Sanchez at second, but David Robertson picked up 21st save when Brandon Moss flied out to center field.
- If cooler than being cool is ice cold, then Adam LaRoche is a glacier. In the last 30 days, he is 10-for-71 with 25 strikeouts and just two walks.
- Adam Eaton sat out today's game due to shoulder soreness in his throwing arm. He is expected to start on Monday against Boston.
Carlos Rodon's exit means no walks by a #WhiteSox starter in five straight games, first time they've done that since 1972.— Dan Hayes (@CSNHayes) July 26, 2015