Apr 15, 2021

No-hitter! Carlos Rodon's unlikely White Sox comeback makes history

No-hitter! Carlos Rodon's unlikely White Sox comeback makes history

Good morning, frents!

The greatest Chicago sports moment of 2021 is no longer a team the Bears beat winning the Super Bowl.

Sorry, Tom.

Wednesday's results
Sox 8, Indians 0
Brewers 7, Cubs 0
Magic 115, Bulls 106

Today's schedule
Indians at Sox (1:10, NBCSCH)
Hawks at Wings (6:30, NBCSN)

Toe doubt about it!

It was only six months ago that Carlos Rodon couldn't record a single out in an elimination game and left the mound toward a future that almost certainly wouldn't include the White Sox.

And it was only 2 1/2 months ago the Sox gave their non-tendered lefty a one-year deal worth $3 million with no promise of a spot in the rotation or even a place on the big league roster.

Yet on Wednesday night, Rodon threw the 20th no-hitter in franchise history, coming two outs (and one foot) away from a perfect game.

The pitcher everyone had expected when the Sox drafted him out of North Carolina State with the third overall pick in 2014 had finally arrived.

It's hard to overstate just how good Rodon was in the 8-0 win over the Indians. The Sox offense batted around in the first inning with Yermin Mercedes blasting a ball over the Dan Ryan and it was all still a mere footnote to their pitcher's performance.

Rodon located his slider from the outset and maintained his velocity all night. He threw 75 of his 114 pitches for strikes and his fastball was still hitting 99 in the ninth. The first 25 Cleveland batters weren't successful and it took an errant Rodon slider finding Roberto Perez's foot in the dirt to erase a bid for the 24th perfect game in baseball history.

But no matter. Rodon laughed off the misfortune to get the final two outs for the no-hitter and he later said only one thought was going through his mind as Yoan Moncada made the 5-3 putout.

"I can't believe this is happening."

Not many of us could either.

While Rodon's talent has always been obvious, so has his inconsistency and injury. Shoulder surgery marred his 2017 and Tommy John surgery limited him to just 11 combined starts in 2019-20. Rodon's career was being threatened by the arm troubles that have devoured so many other promising careers.

But Rodon kept at the comeback, no matter the doubts that crept in. He was asked by Steve Stone after the no-hitter if he ever thought he might never get back to the bigs.

"There were days," Rodon admitted. "With (Tommy John), there's plenty of days to think about it.

"But I guess things are working out now."

Just a bit. Combined with his first start of the season, Rodon has thrown 14 scoreless innings and allowed just two hits. Stats Inc. says he's the only pitcher in American League history to win his first two starts while allowing two or fewer hits.

There's still plenty of season to go, of course, and nothing in baseball is guaranteed. Rodon knows that as well as anyone. The two players drafted ahead of him in 2014 — Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek — have never even played in a major-league game.

But Rodon's spring performance combined with his first two starts are early signals that he'll be counted upon as the Sox make a push for the playoffs and look for dependable starts they didn't have last fall.

It's part of the reason Rodon returned to the Sox, no matter his early career struggles or the fact the Sox originally non-tendered him.

"It was (a pretty easy choice)," Rodon told Stone and Jason Benetti as he was doused with a water cooler. "Knowing that I was going to be on a winning team after being on those teams that scuffled a bit. I just wanted to be here for the end of the rebuild ... the winning part."

The no-hitter part.

Thursday thank yous!

Midway Minute is a free daily newsletter fueled by the support of its paid members, all of which get access to perks like exclusive mailbag columns and other special content.

Thank you to Kathleen Lockhart, Gary Prellwitz, Christian Blatner, Todd Brauer and Gina & Gary Salvador for your support!

Want to add your name on a future Thursday thank you and get the perks of being a paid member? Click here.

News and results

Final: Brewers 7, Cubs 0

The way the Cubs have been hitting, their chances against the Brewers on Wednesday were ruined the moment right-hander Corbin Burnes took the mound. He continued his uncommonly excellent roll with six innings of two-hit ball with 10 strikeouts. Here's a photo showing all you need to know about the Cubs (5-7) are hitting right now:

A lot of 100 area codes there.

• Jake Arietta wasn't bad, allowing three runs, four hits and a walk over five innings, but the Brewers scored twice in the first and that was enough for Burnes.

• In his Cubs debut, Shelby Miller allowed four runs, two hits and three walks without recording an out.

Next: A day off today so they can walk home from Milwaukee. On Friday, the Cubs return home to face the Braves, with let-hander Drew Smyly on the hill for Atlanta. The Cubs will announce their pitcher soon, but it probably will be Kyle Hendricks if his health checks out OK after a COVID-related scare.

Final: Magic 115, Bulls 106

Worst loss of the season? Despite facing a dismantled Orlando team, the Bulls dropped their fourth straight game and fell to 3-8 since the Nikola Vucevic trade.

  • Wendell Carter Jr. had himself a revenge game, scoring 19 points and 12 rebounds.  Zach LaVine scored 30 points with Vucevic just one point behind at 29.
  • Orlando led by a point at halftime and outscored the Bulls 39-19 in the third quarter. The Magic, who at 18-37 have the fourth-worst record in the league, led by as many as 23 points.
  • Next: After a day off, the Bulls host Memphis on Friday.
  1. David Brown on how Jackie Robinson could have ended up with the White Sox instead of the Dodgers. Midway Minute
  2. Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace were in attendance at Justin Fields' pro day. Windy City Gridiron
  3. Say it ain't so! Cordarrelle Patterson is reportedly signing with the Falcons. BearsWire
  4. Brian Sandalow and Danny Santaromita have launched a podcast about the Fire and Red Stars, just in time for their seasons. Check it out. The Chicago Soccer Conversation
  5. Marc Malnati says nothing's going to change once Lou's gets sold, but I'm not sure that's a promise he can make. Daily Herald
David Brown
Longtime Chicago guy. A professional writer and editor since 1998. Member of Baseball Writers Association of America since 2013.

Join the conversation

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Midway Minute.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.