Carlos Rodon headed into Wednesday night’s contest with St. Louis in a bit of a rough stretch.
His last two outings were less than impressive. He allowed five runs in Texas and issued six walks in Houston in back to back starts, and you would understand if he was not feeling too confident taking the hill against the Cardinals.
That assumption could not have been farther from the truth. Rodon was brilliant tonight, going seven and a third shutout innings, allowing only five men to reach base via hit or walk and striking out seven.
What was the biggest key tonight for Rodon? None other than his changeup. He utilized it about as much as he usually uses his hard slider (which was also effective), and it was used as a deceptive offering that could change speeds and eye levels. Rodon produced swings and misses for strikeouts on all three of his primary pitches and even caught Jed Gyorko upstairs with a bit of an experimental cutter. His high fastball was too tantalizing to resist as well, on multiple occasions.
Rodon was so unhittbable that St. Louis couldn’t manage to get a runner in scoring position until the sixth inning, when Matt Carpenter doubled to right center field. The only other threat to score was in Rodon’s final frame, when an error by Yoan Moncada (who later redeemed himself with a laser of a triple off of a 102 mile per hour pitch) cost him a double play and put runners on the corners with one out.
A walk then loaded the bases, and Rodon was removed in favor of Juan Minaya, who battled against Tommy Pham and got him swinging on a pitch low and out of the zone. Joakim Soria was then called upon to retire Juan Martinez, and he did that and then some. Martinez saw three pitches and whiffed at them all, the last of which was a downright filthy breaking ball that left him zero chance.
Rodon, Minaya, and Soria stole the show, but the Sox’ bats contributed in key moments throughout the night. Yolmer Sanchez picked up a pair of hits, Omar Narvaez did the same, and Tim Anderson drove in two runs and blasted a double down the third base line to send Narvaez home and give Chicago a huge insurance run.
Tomorrow, the White Sox have a day off before heading into a home series against the Kansas City Royals. Reynaldo Lopez and the struggling (to put it mildly) Jason Hammel will butt heads in a divisional showdown.
After last night’s disastrous outing, the White Sox desperately needed a performance that they could be proud of. It’s safe to say that tonight’s game checked that box in an all-around outstanding victory.
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