Spare Parts: Carlos Rodon is not clowning around

After Reynaldo Lopez said the White Sox were playing like “clowns” last week, some of his teammates quibbled with how he aired it, but nobody argued Lopez’s point.

The Sox responded with a respectable split against Oakland, and Carlos Rodon provided the capper with eight innings of two-run ball.

For this week’s column in The Athletic, I wrote about Rodon, who is one of the few White Sox pitchers built to win now. His larger purpose in the rebuild remains to be seen, but he’s tasked with being Not A Clown in the interim.

Even though Rodón hasn’t regained all his powers, he still possesses the ability to punch himself off the ropes, and he stranded those runners at second and third with an array of better pitches. Rodón couldn’t find “in and off the plate” to Barreto, but he found it against Marcus Semien, who grounded into an unproductive 5-3. He found it against Chad Pinder, setting him up for a strikeout on 97-mph high heat. He found it against Jed Lowrie, severing his thumbs with a slider for an inning-ending pop-out to Yoán Moncada.

Rodón kept the deficit to 2-0, the White Sox answered with five runs in the bottom of the fifth, and Rodon cruised to his first victory of the year.

It’s unfair to expect López or Lucas Giolito to have Rodón’s stuff or confidence at this stage in their careers, but at least they can see how a pitcher can regain control of the circumstances no matter what happened before. Ignoring previous damage is going to be a big part of the next nine baseball months.

Spare Parts

I was with Rick Renteria for most of this paragraph:

“I think his jumps over the last month, maybe six weeks, have really gotten better and back to the (Engel) everybody saw,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He really has been getting off the ball very, very well, running down some difficult plays and continues to improve with the bat.”

Except for that drop he had on the warning track against Cleveland — a tough catch, but one a guy hitting .211 needs to make — he’s back to covering the kind of ground that made him a Statcast sensation last year. But yeah, he’s still hitting .211, and the Sox now have somebody who can challenge him for that spot in …

… Charlie Tilson, whose hit tool is helping him stay afloat (.280/.341/.317). Grounders and opposite-field shanks don’t seem like a recipe for sustainable success, although a speedy lefty should have an above-average BABIP on his side. I still want to see what he looks like in center.

The White Sox just missed him, but the indefatigable Edwin Jackson resurfaced in the majors with the Oakland A’s. In the process, he tied Octavio Dotel’s record by pitching for his 13th team. He threw six innings of one-run ball against the Tigers, although the no-decision means he’s still stuck on 98 wins.

Looking at Jackson’s lengthy Baseball-Reference.com page, the White Sox may have gotten his best work.

The fact that the A’s beat the Tigers after digging up Jackson supports what this headline posits. It’s not an artfully written piece, but the key point is that the division is projected to lose 88 games more than it’ll win, which would be a record in the six-division era, and by a large margin.

Two things I learned from Grant Brisbee’s weekly column:

1) Rangers third baseman Isaiah Kiner-Falefa is catching, too, and he almost killed Jake Diekman when he threw out his first runner. (Diekman didn’t realize it was the 27th out afterward, either.)

2) Former Kansas City manager Trey Hillman has this hair now.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Otter

Hopefully the Tilson vs Engel debate is rock-bottom for the rebuild. At this point, I can’t muster any real emotions about it, but I feel like I should as a “good” fan. They’re both extremely flawed and not that much fun to watch. Can Palka bat for both of them?

Josh Nelson

Make baseball like football. 9 dedicated defensive players : 9 dedicated offensive players.

Don’t send this suggestion to Rob Manfred. I’m kidding.

Otter

Haha, I’d gladly watch a Sox line up where Palka got to hit 7 times and Moncada and Abreu once each.

evenyoudorn

Watching him swing that hard, that many times, I’d be really tense waiting for some horrible injury where his joints just explosively fail. It would feel like watching my little kids taking the stairs too fast.

CarolinaSoxFan

I’d like to see Daniel Palka learn to keep the defense honest by going the other way, or even bunting occasionally.

I understand that he does hit the ball hard, but all too often it’s hit hard into the shift for an easy out. If he could be more of a threat to go the other way, a lot of those line drives that are now hit to the 2b/rf would be base hits. Add 20 points or so to his average and his defense becomes a little more palatable.

sgp2204

Just enjoy it while it lasts – he won’t be around long.

metasox

That has always been one my greatest fears.

mikeyb

Let’s just play Palka in CF. This is the most entertaining possible endeavor that Ricky can partake in the rest of the season.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Wasn’t there a team of recent vintage that tried putting their worst outfielder in CF and put fast guys in right and left? I think there was some data to support trying it, but I can’t remember who it was. It must not have been that successful.

evenyoudorn

The name Mackowiak leaps to mind, not too nimbly.

CarolinaSoxFan

🙂

Trooper Galactus

That anybody is pining for a guy to bat more because he’s mustering a .740 OPS is pretty rock bottom.

35Shields

I feel like giving 100+ PAs to a guy who’s OPS barely beats the league average OBP is more rock bottom.

Trooper Galactus

We’re quibbling over degrees of bad; that’s pretty rock bottom.

Otter

It’s only because he’s fun as hell to watch swing, not because he’s Q!2.0

Josh Nelson

AL All-Star Voting Update.

asinwreck

Good lord, if the vote totals keep up, the AL will have a merit-based lineup. Ramos may be a bigger surprise than Abreu, given the market.

VAChisox

What hat will Jackson wear on his Hall of Fame plaque?

yinkadoubledare

the National League logo

Josh Nelson

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metasox

Interesting clown-related comments in that Sun-Times article. I wasn’t aware it was that controversial among the players. I believe all Lopez said was they looked like clowns and need to do better. Maybe quibble about the choice of words, but the players need to understand that we can see them. There is no sense in pretending they don’t look like crap. I can understand players wanting certain internal things staying within the clubhouse, but there is nothing internal about their play on the field. And I think most fans appreciate when the players are honest about the team’s play and indicate they are not satisfied with it. I did like Abreu’s comment from a team leader perspective and as a way of supporting his teammate.

metasox

For additional reading, a recent profile on Yolmer in Chicago Magazine:

http://www.chicagomag.com/city-life/June-2018/Yolmer-Snchez-Is-Putting-It-All-Together/

evenyoudorn

Saw this ad on Da Bears Blog:

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mikeyb

Yeah that’s getting purchased immediately. Thank you for sharing.

evenyoudorn

That’s a fun read. I love Yolmer. And although I only catch his quotes in really small bites, I think I really like Davidson. He seems like he’s also a genuinely funny person.

sgp2204

“His larger purpose in the rebuild remains to be seen“

Hopefully staff ace on a reasonable long-term extension like Sale/Q. 

joewho112

Scott Boars is his agent and he got a healthy pay day when he was drafted so I don’t see it coming without a significant injury (see Strasburg)

karkovice squad

Strasburg also got the Nationals to agree to multiple opt-outs which isn’t the kind of structure the Sox seem likely to favor.

fustercluck

something I learned from Brisbee is Steve Sharts

ParisSox

The Brisbee article lead about Markakis’ catch reminds me of Lillibridge in Yankee Stadium.  Which may have been even more remarkable considering Lillibridge was more of an infielder.