Sep 21, 2021

Not so fast, Carlos Rodon

Not so fast, Carlos Rodon
(USA Today Sport)

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Good morning, frents!

So Jon Lester got win No. 200 while wearing a Cardinals uniform on Monday night. Not quite Chris Chelios lifting the Cup wearing the winged wheel or Frank Thomas hitting No. 500 as a member of the Blue Jays, but definitely in the dugout of the same ballpark.

Which post-Chicago athlete achievement bummed you out the most?

Monday's result
Tigers 4, Sox 3

Today's schedule
Sox at Tigers (12:10, NBCSCH)
Twins at Cubs (6:40, Marquee)

Rodon's struggles cast a pall over coming party

Feel free to hit that panic button.

Carlos Rodon lasted only three innings in Monday's 4-3 loss to Detroit, struggling with his velocity and laboring his way through 69 pitches.  

All together now!  Not nice.

Sox manager Tony La Russa says the team is "concerned" and hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. The plan was for Rodon to make one more start before the end of the season, but the next time we see him might be for his start in the playoffs.

For his part, Rodon brushed off questions and labeled his troubles "normal soreness." He brusquely ended his media session, asking if there were any questions about the game rather than the left arm that seems to be failing him once again.

Rodon came into Monday's game on nine days of rest after a solid five-inning outing against Boston on Sept. 10. La Russa and the Sox have approached his second half with extreme caution and the team's big lead in the AL Central afforded them that luxury.

But the kid gloves apparently haven't helped. Rodon's velocity never crested 96 MPH on Monday and it dropped rather quickly. His final four-seamer of the night clocked at just 89.4 MPH. While he still was able to record six strikeouts and get 11 swinging strikes, it was clear Rodon was struggling. The Tigers scored three runs off him in the third to tie the game.

The trouble shouldn't come as a surprise. Before Rodon's Cy-worthy first half, his narrative was that of the high draft pick who couldn't stay healthy. He pitched a total of 42 innings between 2019-20 and only 69.1 in 2017.

That story started to shift in April with Rodon's first career no-hitter, followed by his first All-Star Game appearance. But as his innings climbed, his velocity dipped.

Now Rodon is back in a spot where he's seeing a big free-agent payday slip away. And the Sox are back to wondering if they'll have the starting horses for a deep playoff run.

If there's any reason for optimism, it's that Rodon showed that he was a gamer coming back for this season with the Sox and achieving what he did early. The Sox have also battled through the absences of more than a few key players this season. Maybe they can do it again?

It's still not a situation any team wants to be in.

Next: Dallas Keuchel (8-9, 5.23) vs. Tyler Alexander (2-3, 4.13)

KC's doubleheader sweep of Cleveland on Monday dropped the Sox's magic number to two. Which means the Sox could clinch as early as today if they beat the Tigers and the Royals manage another win. A bad forecast moved the Sox's game up to noon, which means the clinching could be an anti-climactic one with the team back at the hotel by the end of the Royals-Indians game.

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Matt Nagy is having himself a year, isn't he? After avoiding multiple requests to clarify if Dalton was still the starter after Sunday's happenings, Nagy sent in a team official to tell the media that Dalton is indeed the starter ... if healthy. That could lead to a situation where Justin Fields starts the next couple of games if Dalton isn't ready to go and then relinquishes the job to the veteran when he comes back from what NFL Network's Ian Rapaport is reporting as a bone bruise. The situation, as they say, remains fluid.

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