Dear Mr. Baseball Commissioner, sir:
Please be most kind and schedule the American League playoffs with lots of days off in-between games. You see, Carlos Rodón, one of our and the league’s best pitchers, had been getting very tired and not pitching well lately, but with eight days off, he came back looking like Sandy Koufax with a beard. He’ll be a big draw in the playoffs, so it would be in the game’s best interests to have him in top form.
Just maybe do two games at one field, then a week off, two games at the other field, etc. I’m sure no other team will mind.
Thank you for your consideration.
Yeah, yeah, I know, it was just the much-depleted Schlubs, but still, 17 strikeouts by the White Sox’s pitching staff is pretty damned impressive in a 4-0 win. And Rodón got 11 of those in five innings and a batter.
Or, if you prefer a visual:
1️⃣1️⃣ K for 5️⃣5️⃣. pic.twitter.com/SNqdSAag3h— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 7, 2021
Rodón came out firing in the mid-90s — up three or four mph from his last two starts — and dialed it as high as 99 mph before sliding back to 94 mph for his one batter in the sixth. Together with his best-in-the-universe slider, no opponent had a chance, let alone the pitiful remaining Cubs, who have all the plate discipline of a Doberman Pinscher at a barbecue.
Rodón only gave up two hits, one of those a broken bat job, and two walks, including his final batter. David Bote’s 95.9 mph double was the only ball hit off of him at more than 85.5 mph.
The bullpen wasn’t quite as overwhelming, but was plenty strong. Michael Kopech and Aaron Bummer each gave up a single in one inning of work — Kopech with one strikeout and Bummer with two. Craig Kimbrel recovered from his horrible outing Friday with a 1-2-3, two-strikeout inning. Ryan Tepera finished off the day by allowing a single and, appropriately, recording a game-ending strikeout.
As for the offense, well, there was some. Adbert Alzolay, who came in with a 4.85 ERA, an inability to get lefties out at all, and off of two weak starts, deserved a better fate than he got. The White Sox only managed two runs against him, which both came in the first inning. They needed some luck — two dribbler infield singles by César Hernández and Eloy Jiménez in the first, followed by a booming double to the ivy in center by Yoán Moncada.
Off to an early lead!@ymoncada19 | @NBCSChicago pic.twitter.com/PFOtASCTMo— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 7, 2021
Alzolay gave up six hits and no walks in 6 2⁄3 innings, with the other extra-base job being opposite field doubles by Leury García and Jiménez, who was credited with a hit even though his was a pretty routine fly ball that Bote decided it would be clever to try to catch with the outside of his glove. Turns out that doesn’t work well.
Then came the Cubs bullpen, which, as was the case Friday, couldn’t pen a bunny rabbit, let alone a bull. Hernández and José Abreu went-back-to-back off of Trevor Megill and his double-digit ERA in the eighth. Neither was exactly creamed — 96.2 mph and 100.7 mph — but, hey, it’s Wrigley.
BACK-TO-BACK!#ChangeTheGame | @NBCSChicago pic.twitter.com/FfKSuYB6Ig— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 7, 2021
Hernández joined Jiménez with a two-hit day. Tim Anderson and Zack Collins were the only hitless position-player starters, each notching two strikeouts, as well.
The White Sox go for the sweep tomorrow night, 6:09 pm. Central, with Dylan Cease facing Zach Davies. ABC-TV is broadcasting the game.