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White Sox 7, Athletics 2: Carlos Rodon finds his form

Wipeout slider leads to 10 strikeouts in Oakland

Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

The bar was pretty low for Carlos Rodon in his 2017 debut. He needed to throw easy, show good life on his stuff and be able to make his next start. The six walks in five innings was a secondary concern.

That said, he needed to hit his spots more often in his second outing. By striking out 10 Oakland hitters over 6 13 innings, I think we can say he got the job done.

Rodon was in his finest form for five of his six full innings in this one. He threw 65 of his 102 pitches for strikes, and 26 of them were whiffs, according to Brooks Baseball. They were evenly distributed:

  • 10 fastballs
  • 9 sliders
  • 7 changeups

It looked like he might go off the rails in the second inning, as Rodon seemed to experience discomfort with his landing spot. After a two-out Josh Phegley double, a couple of awkward releases prompted a visit from Rick Renteria and Herm Schneider. Rodon didn’t require test pitches to continue, but he struggled to close out the inning. He stepped off the rubber several times, and when he did throw pitches, he allowed a second walk and a two-run single on a grooved fastball.

He went to the dugout trailing 2-1, but the reset in the dugout — and a three-run top of the third by the White Sox — helped Rodon rediscover his form. He pitched beautifully the rest of the way, allowing just four hits and three walks (or half as many as he issued in his debut).

His night ended on a sour note, only because Yolmer Sanchez dropped Tim Anderson’s feed at second base for an error that put two on with one out. Anthony Swarzak entered and stranded both runners to preserve Rodon’s line, and his bid for a win.

Rodon and the Sox outclassed the A’s on the field in this one. They out-hit Oakland 12-5, out-walked Oakland 8-4, and were out-errored 2-1.

It took a while for the Sox to gain comfortable separation, but the A’s helped out with that in the eighth inning. Tim Anderson reached on a hot one-hopper to short that doinked off Adam Rosales, which was scored an error. After a Kevan Smith bunt, Willy Garcia turned on a hanging slider and roped it into the left-field corner for an RBI double. Adam Engel followed with a lucky bunt single — he popped it up, but it landed in front of Phegley, then backed up on him due to spin. Then Melky Cabrera scored Garcia on a grounder that Yonder Alonso should’ve blocked, but it was scored a double. Go figure.

They then added another run on four walks by John Axford in the ninth inning, all by rookies — Matt Davidson, Kevan Smith, Willy Garcia and Adam Engel.

Early in the game, the White Sox scored runs on their own off Jharel Cotton. Todd Frazier led off the second with a double, and Anderson drove in him with a two-out single past Franklin Barreto.

After the A’s struck for two off a shaky Rodon, the Sox struck for the crooked number with more two-out magic. Frazier doubled home Engel (who walked) and Cabrera (who singled), followed by a Davidson double that gave the Sox a 4-2 lead.

Bullet points:

*Engel drew three walks out of the leadoff spot, while Garcia drew two walks from the ninth spot. Even Smith drew his second walk of the season. The White Sox forced the A’s to throw 190 pitches, while the Sox only threw 148.

*Sanchez was the only White Sox without a hit, although he too drew a walk.

Record: 37-45 | Box score | Highlights