Indians 5, White Sox 4: Why Carlos Rodón?

Back in 2015, Carlos Rodón made his major-league debut in less than ideal circumstances. He inherited two on with two out in the sixth inning of a game against Cleveland, issued a walk to load the bases, then gave up a two-run single to Ryan Raburn. Rodón only made two other relief appearances before he shifted to starting.

Rodón made his return to relief tonight under even tougher circumstances. The Indians loaded the bases in the seventh on three weak singles off Jimmy Cordero, which could be chalked up as bad luck if lefties weren’t hitting .396 off him entering the game. Cordero recovered by getting a force out at home and a pop-out from Francisco Lindor.

That brought Cesar Hernandez to the plate, and that’s when Rick Renteria went to Rodón for yet-to-be-determined reasons. It went similarly well, as he gave up a two-run single to Hernandez, and a two-run double to José Ramírez that gave the Indians 5-4 lead, and the four-game sweep.

If you’re wondering whether Aaron Bummer was available, he pitched the eighth. He gave up a line-drive single to Franmil Reyes in his return to the mound, but settled down to retire the next three batters, one by strikeout. He looked fine. I can understand Renteria wanting to give him a clean inning with a controlled, deliberate warm-up period in his return from an injury. Rodón is the bigger issue.

However, that unfolded, it made the triumph of solving Zach Plesac short-lived. While Yolmer Sánchez tagged a hanging curve for a solo shot in the third, they finally solved him in the seventh after some 20 innings of being held down.

Delino DeShields Jr. assisted with some uncharacteristically sloppy play in center field. He got caught too close to the wall on a Yoán Moncada drive, allowing the carom to get past him for a leadoff triple. Moncada came home on a Yasmani Grandal grounder for a 2-1 lead.

By some miracle, the Sox weren’t done. José Abreu drew a walk, advanced to third when DeShields couldn’t haul in Eloy Jiménez’s drive to the right-center warning track, then came home on Nomar Mazara’s grounder through the left side. Jiménez followed him, but he jammed his foot sliding into the plate, and left the game afterward, foreshadowing some sort of doom.

Dallas Keuchel was in position for the win before the bullpen melted down, and the absence of one is the only thing he didn’t get out of his start, which was a rousing success otherwise. He completed six innings for the first time since coming off the injured list, and in his classic style — a few strikeouts (three), but more groundouts (six), which kept his pitch count reasonable (93).

He gave up four hits, only one of which was smoked, but the luck ultimately balanced out in his favor. Yasmani Grandal erased José Ramírez’s first-inning double by picking him off second, and Cesar Hernandez’s shanked slicer down the line hopped over the side-wall, resulting in a ground-rule double that kept Francisco Lindor at third, only scoring one run instead of two. Keuchel decided to go after Ramírez even with a base open, and Ramírez grounded out to short to keep the game tied at 1.

Keuchel completed the final three innigns without incident, and every out counted. After he retired Franmil Reyes with a first-pitch pop-up to end the sixth, his ERA dropped down to 1.99. That’s something!

Bullet points:

*Moncada is now in a 3-for-37 slump, with all three hits triples.

*Ramírez went 5-for-12 with three doubles, two homers and eight RBIs during the series. If he ends up passing Abreu in MVP voting, he can thank the White Sox pitching staff.

Record: 34-23 | Box score | Statcast

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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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Shingos Cheeseburgers

Meh they’ve lost 976 games since their last playoff appearance what’s one more?

If they had gone ‘only’ 0.600 against Detroit and KC they’d be out of the playoffs if tonight’s Houston result holds.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Also, that’s an excellent lede, Jim.


I woke up, looked at the box score, and Jim’s lede was exactly the first question that popped into my head.


I think they just wanted to ensure they didn’t face Cleveland in first round of playoffs.


The Rodon mistake was obvious at the time, but I didn’t really think about how bad the Cordero decision was in the moment too. If the first three games of the series should have taught Ricky anything, it’s that Cleveland is going to pinch hit for platoon advantage late in the game. Jim wrote an article a few weeks ago about how the Sox had many RHPs that have had success against lefties. Cordero was about the only one getting crushed by lefties. Granted, a bunch of those RHPs that were listed are not on the roster currently (Marshall, Burdi, Cishek), but why not use Foster there? If they want the platoon advantage, great. Have fun with Foster’s changeup.


WHy not have Rodon start the inning? Since they don’t care about playoff home field advantage, why not give him a clean inning to work? They need to get him work.


Yep, that too. I mentioned that in the first pitch. If they were dead set on using Rodon tonight, then give the guy who’s not used to coming out of the bullpen a clean inning.

Right Size Wrong Shape

How does one account for that? Is it bad positioning, bad luck, or something else? It seems that a pitcher who induces weak contact should be able to get better results over the long term.


That’s a great point, and I’d like to think that he thought that. However, there’s already a lot of evidence of Ricky just looking one step ahead, and not 2 or 3, regarding match-ups late in games. In this case, Step 1: “Oooh, three righties near the bottom of the order. Time to use a RHP, and I don’t care about the lefty splits, because, hey, three righties. I’m so lucky!” Step 2: Cleveland uses three lefties to pinch hit. Step 3: “Aha, I got you now, because in the ninth, those lefties are now stuck.” I’m pretty sure if it was a save situation in the ninth, and they got back around to those lefties for that inning, Colome would still be coming in to face them, because: closer. Bummer was probably reserved as: 8th inning setup guy. And yes, the contact was weak, and he almost got out of it, so I should lay off the Cordero part of the evening. I’m usually not this frustrated with managerial decisions, but the Rodon one was mind-boggling, so I’m extending my window of angst and questioning everything.


One other thing I noticed was thst Rodon was getting warmed up at the very beginning of the 7th inning. I think you are right that there was a plan for Cordero to either face 3-4 righties or get Cleveland to empty their bench with pinch hitters, and then bring in Rodon. They weren’t counting on the bases-loaded situation, and they didn’t adjust their plan when that happened. So Rodon it was.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

At least if the pull NYY in the opening round it’ll be a prime time game. Otherwise a Sox-Indians matchup will be relegated to 1015 AM on CourtTV.


I just rewatched the start of the 7th inning meltdown. And to be honest, Cordero really didn’t pitch poorly. It’s easy to look at the box score and think the Indians were ripping hits off of him. But for the first hit, the batter was completely jammed on a good inside corner pitch and the ball barely reached the outfield grass on the fly. On the second hit, the pitch looked middle-middle, but it fooled him enough to result in a weak grounder off the end of the bat that found a large infield gap to roll through due to defensive positioning. And the third hit was another weak jam shot blooped just out of TA’s reach. I’m sure the expected batting average on each of those hits would have been quite low. It was just super unlucky that weak contact resulted in a hit three times in a row.


One Positive: Rodon was throwing hard. He was consistently mid 90’s and hit 97 MPH. I thought his arm was shot after he was sitting at 89 before going on the IL.

Bummer, Rodon, Crotchet gives the sox three lefty options out of the bullpen that throw gas.

As Cirensica

This series against Cleveland shows me what I worry about with Renteria. Renteria is harmless with a decent team and a big enough sample size. It is in short series like this one where his mistakes/decisions can be very costly. Managers generally matter very little during the season, but they tend to matter in a short series like a play off.

Buck Weaver

Man, they’ve been tough to watch this week. The are playing with no confidence–after going up 4-1 last night, it felt like looking at a Jenga tower built by a 4 year old–only a matter of time before it fell apart.

And you really have to question the use of Rodón in that spot last night. If Renteria is wanting to get him back in the saddle and ready for use in the playoffs, seems like there might be a lower leverage situation in Cubs series. The backstop wild pitch was just the icing on the cake.

It’s bittersweet. Love that the Sox are back in the playoffs, but hate that they are stone cold going in.


All I saw last night was Carlos Rodon hit 97 multiple times and 98 at least once. Anybody who saw anything else should have really turned the game off the moment that final Rodon pitch was hit. It was actually quite an enjoyable game!