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Carlos Rodón will take it. So will the White Sox. So will Sox fans. Rodón still has a ways to go, but when you compare him today to where he was in 2020, he doesn't resemble the same pitcher.
Rodón dominated at times and worked his way out of jams in the third and fourth innings Monday night, giving the Sox a chance to earn a palate-cleansing 6-0 victory against the Seattle Mariners.
Rodón struck out nine, allowing two hits, three walks and a hit batter over five innings. Reaching 98 mph early, he was still pumping fastballs in the mid- to upper-90s in his final inning and finished with 95 pitches, including 57 for strikes, along with 19 swings-and-misses. It was an extension of a promising spring training for Rodón, who was released by the Sox after 2020 and then brought back at a salary discount.
The Sox (2-3) won without starting shortstop Tim Anderson, who strained his hamstring running the bases Sunday night. He is expected to miss (at least) the Seattle series, which runs through Wednesday.
There were plenty of positives for the Sox, though:
• Yasmani Grandal hit a solo homer and drove in three runs for the Sox who needed a happy final score after being put through an emotional meat grinder in the season-opening series at the Angels.
• Yermín Mercedes continued to hit, going 3 for 4 with a double, a walk and two runs scored. Mercedes is 12 for 18 this season.
• Andrew Vaughn made two nice plays in left field and picked up his first RBI getting hit by a pitch with the bases load.
Here's Vaughn's catch:
Here's Rodón's reaction:
Rodón's pitching performance was the top highlight. He made some mistakes, notably in the third inning when baserunner J.P. Crawford led off with a single and appeared to pester Rodón into losing concentration while trying to keep the runner close to first. Rodón caught Crawford leaning but his pickoff attempt was wide of first baseman José Abreu for a two-base error.
Rodón did not relent, using his slider to strike out Mitch Haniger, a changeup to get Ty France to pop out to short center, and an 87 mph slider to get Kyle Seager swinging. Rodón let out a primal scream, Crawford was left stranded and the Sox kept a 1-0 lead.
After the Sox added three runs against M's starter Justus Sheffield in the top of the fourth, Rodón lost command of his breaking pitches in the bottom half. Rodón put himself in peril by issuing three straight one-out walks before Sam Haggerty grounded into a force out at home. Rodón put away Crawford with an 89-mph slider in the dirt. The Mariners had stranded three more.
Rodón had given the Sox something only Lucas Giolito had done through the first turn of the starting rotation: Five innings of work. The short starts have been due in part to the Sox kicking the ball around on defense and extending innings for their pitchers as they did against the Angels. They played better defense against Seattle, but also it was Rodón beginning to realize his potential after being picked third overall in the 2014 draft. While he still has wrinkles to iron out, Rodón has looked — including his strong spring training — like he has turned a corner. He appears to be an early success story with new pitching coach Ethan Katz.
Wrapping a bow on a good night for the Sox: Michael Kopech struck out five over two innings (the sixth and seventh) in his second strong performance in relief. José Ruiz finished with two perfect innings.
Today: Giolito makes his second start of the season tonight and the Sox face left-hander James Paxton. One more late one for Soxdom before a matinee on Wednesday! First pitch goes at 9:10 p.m.
Name the Hall of Famer who attended Baylor from 1920-23 and lettered in both baseball and basketball before pitching for the White Sox.
Cubs 5, Brewers 3
Sox 6, Mariners 0
Bulls at Pacers (6, NBCSCH)
Brewers at Cubs (6:40, Marquee)
Stars at Hawks (7, NBCSCH)
Sox at Mariners (9, NBCSCH)
News and results
Final: Cubs 5, Brewers 3
How's this for a mouthful of a lead? Trevor Williams retired the first 15 Milwaukee batters he faced took a perfect game into the sixth inning and eventually earned the win in his first start as a Cub as his father — a former Wrigley Field usher — sat in seats paid for by Jason Heyward.
- “Just a really special moment for my family and I,” Williams told reporters. “Thankful that they were able to be in the stands to celebrate, it wouldn’t have been the same if they weren’t in the stands."
That wasn't the only story for the Cubs as they moved to 3-1.
- Willson Contreras, Javy Baez and David Bote all homered off Brewers starter Brett Anderson during the fourth inning.
- Eric Sogard added an insurance run with a RBI triple off reigning ROY Devin Williams in the seventh.
- Andrew Chafin struck out all four batters he faced after the Brewers got within one and Alec Mills pitched a perfect ninth to record the save. (Craig Kimbrel was unavailable having pitched the previous two games.)
- Today: Adbert Alzolay gets his first shot at the team's fifth starter against the Brewers' Freddy Peralta.
Sam Darnold traded to the Panthers: I was on the "Bears should kick the tires on Darnold" train earlier this year, but I'm in the camp of being totally ambivalent about this one. The Panthers are giving up a sixth-rounder this year and a second- and fourth-rounder next year. Maybe the Andy Dalton signing robbed any optimism I had left, but I don't trust the Bears enough to turn Darnold around to think he's worth that gamble. And on the plus side, the Bears no longer have to worry about Carolina (eighth pick overall) drafting a quarterback before them.
MLB All-Star Game headed to Colorado: Which is fine. I don't think any of us were keen on Chicago scrambling to host a socially-distanced jewel event, anyway.
- Patrick Mooney on the Javier Baez extension talks that still continue. The Athletic
- Elias Schuster with a closer look at the 10 games that will make or break the Bulls' playoff chances. Bleacher Nation
- Bob Verdi on the emergency goalie who helped the Hawks win the 1938 Stanley Cup. Chicago Blackhawks
- Here are the Bears who might switch numbers if the NFL goes ahead with its number rule change. Chicago Bears
- The Sun-Times says it's time to redevelop the White Sox parking lots into a residential development. Which sounds great but, hey, where is anyone going to park? Sun-Times