Carlos Rodón almost forced Tony La Russa into an uncomfortable situation. He carried a no-hitter one out into the seventh, and had home plate umpire Pat Hoberg not turned a perfect 2-2 slider on Eric Haase into ball three, Rodón would’ve been seven outs away from a second no-no with 88 pitches on his arm.
Would La Russa push Rodón well past 100 pitches to chase the rare feat of two no-hitters in one season? Or would he make the unpopular decision to pull him since there’s no way to give him extra rest before his next start?
The discussion remains hypothetical, because Haase used that second life to hit a deep line drive to left just out of the range of Andrew Vaughn to make the decision a whole lot simpler. Haase ended up advancing on a wild pitch and scoring on a sac fly to also spoil the shutout, so Rodón merely settled for seven innings of one-run ball, while the White Sox were resigned to a one-hitter and a sweep. We can set aside concerns about how Rodón performs on regular rest for the time being.
FROM APRIL: Carlos Rodón’s no-hitter is delayed gratification, a little ahead of schedule
Taking all three games can’t be assumed for any series between any two teams, especially when La Russa wanted to use the weekend to spread days off for everybody. It just so happens that life is that charmed for the South Siders when Detroit’s involved. The White Sox improved to 8-2 against the Tigers this year, and 17-3 since the start of the abbreviated 2020 season.
The White Sox offense took a while to find its stride against a Johnny Wholestaff game for the Tigers, but Rodón’s early dominance made patience possible. While Kyle Funkhouser shut the Sox down into the third inning, the Chicago swings improved against lefty Tyler Alexander.
Yoán Moncada started the fourth with a double, then scored on José Abreu’s opposite-field/good-piece-of-hitting single for the game’s first run. An inning later, Danny Mendick singled and came around to score on Leury García’s ensuing double into the left-field corner.
The White Sox then let Buck Farmer bury the Tigers on his own in the sixth. Singles by Abreu and Adam Eaton put two on with one out, and Farmer took care of the rest. He dinked Adam Engel with a changeup to load the bases, and while he froze Zack Collins with an offspeed pitch for the second out, another wayward change doinked Mendick to make it 3-0. Four straight out of the zone to García later, and the Sox had all the runs they scored.
Rodón made sure it was plenty. His fastball-slider command was on point from the beginning, throwing it for 90 of his 103 pitches, and getting 21 of his 22 swinging strikes on that combo. The fastball did the heavy lifting the first time through, after which the slider usage increased, and the strikeouts in tow. He finished with nine strikeouts over seven innings on the afternoon. For the season, he improved to 6-2 while lowering his ERA to 1.89. Because he now qualifies for the ERA title, the Sox have the lowest two such marks in the American League. Lance Lynn leads the entire pack at 1.23.
Evan Marshall struck out two during a perfect eighth, and Liam Hendriks rebounded from his blown save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
*Brian Goodwin started in left, walking and striking out in his two plate appearances. Andrew Vaughn pinch-hit for him in the fifth when the left-handed Alexander was on the mound with a runner on second in the fifth. It’s possible Goodwin catches Haase’s drive.
*Leury García went 2-for-4 with a walk from the leadoff spot, José Abreu went 3-for-5 with a double to right center that would’ve been a homer in most parks besides Comerica Field, and Adam Eaton raised his average to .200 with a pair of infield singles.
*The White Sox were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12, but that works on a day where Detroit went 0-for-0 with the sac fly, and only had two baserunners to leave aboard.
*Cleveland lost a Shane Bieber start to Seattle, so the White Sox now lead the AL Central by 5½ games heading into a tough week against Tampa Bay and Houston.
Record: 41-24 | Box score | Statcast
That call on that pitch was down right criminal. I knew right away that the no hitter was going to be spoiled.
That call aside, he called a great game. I’m looking forward to seeing his ump scorecard tomorrow.
This is such an exciting year. My attention is starting to turn to how many all-stars will they have this year?
I keep thinking about the trade deadline. I imagine Hahn is trying to formulate a plan now.
How great? This great.
And unlike Gerrit Cole, RODAN did it NATTY.
And a good call to pick a bad team for resting guys.
Goodwin has historically hit righties and lefties about the same. But with Vaughn hitting lefties especially well, giving him that at bat iisn’t surprising. But will be interesting to see how the OF playing time is divided
Makes sense to play Vaughn vs lefties, if they want to rest him sometimes vs RHP. Makes even more sense to sit Eaton rather than Goodwin when Vaughn plays.
The part about giving him that at bat that was surprising is that it meant 4 innings of Vaughn playing defense rather than Goodwin.
Here’s the question: was the difference between Vaughn vs lefties and Goodwin vs. lefties for one at bat (which was the only at bat we knew Vaughn would get against a lefty) worth pulling Goodwin for 4 innings of an inferior defender?
I’m not ever going to defend TLR, but since Vaughn did not start for a couple games I’m sure he wanted to get him in there, esp since they are facing another RHP tonight vs Tampa where he might sit. The defense may have been a blessing in disguise. Goodwin might have caught the hit, and Rodon might have wound up with 130 pitches going for a no-no. That’s the last thing they need.
If anything, La Russa has leaned heavily on late inning defense. So, he must have felt the change was worth it. And he is clearly reasonably comfortable with Vaughn defensively especially when compared to someone like Lamb in the OF. He also still needs to get comfortable with what Goodwin will do offensively so that part is up to Goodwin.
I’m comfortable that Goodwin will be better than Eaton, even if he isn’t very good. If he wanted to get Vaughn in there, he could have pinch hit him for Eaton rather than Goodwin, and moved Goodwin to right. I see almost no reason Eaton should play at all at this point. But then again I’m biased, and would find a way to blame Eaton for the bullpen issues, and global warming.
I was looking for a quote to make sure that Goodwin wasn’t injured, and Fegan put one in his recap:
Often when he pinch hits in the mid-innings there are two outs, meaning he is placing a lot of pressure on the outcome of the specific at bat. Given that there is a negative effect associated with pinch hitting, The Book makes clear that a pinch hitter needs to be a lot better than the person the they are hitting for, and Goodwin is not a guy who is so bad at hitting that pinch hitting for him makes sense. And Vaughn is talented and young but he is not currently a much better option for a hit in that situation.
Tony often makes substitutions that would make more sense on a deeper roster. For example, with a no hitter going the decision to pinch hit might have made more sense if he had a defensive substitute (say Hamilton) for Vaughn on the bench. But he didn’t.
What you said about Vaughn not being a better option would be true if it were a right handed pitcher. But Vaughn has an OPS over 1 vs left handed pitching. I think is fair to say that’s appreciably better than what they can expect from Goodwin vs a lefty. Just saying.
Vaughn has had his problems vs RHP, with an OPS barely over .500. I think they are finally concluding that they need better production than that, even if it means he sits quite a bit and does not develop as much. It seemed like they were intent on playing him every day no matter what, but maybe they have changed their thinking.
The population of right handed pitchers in MLB is still quite massive. If the intent is to sit Vaughn even semi-frequently against RHPs, just go ahead and send him down to Charlotte. I get this is a pennant race and all but if you aren’t going to use and develop Vaughn, swap him out for someone who’s future is a bench player.
I hear what you are saying, it is a tough balance to strike. I think it is a safe bet that while wanting to give him a chance to develop, they hoped he would come around a lot more than he has against righties. He may start to do better, but until that happens, his production is so poor against them that it is hard to ignore. If they keep playing him all the time they are sacrificing run production for the sake of his development. It’s not doing wonders for his confidence at this point, either. But it remains to be seen if he will sit more going forward, they may still be very intent on playing him most of the time. Maybe they will keep playing him, and maybe he will start to hit better too. We’ll see.
There are only two options here. Let him play regularly and learn how to hit righties, accepting the potential offensive deficit. Tell him he sucks at hitting righties and send him to AAA to get consistent playing time. Splitting the difference doesn’t do a whole lot of good because you are actively harming his development AND limiting your bench options for a guy that apparently* can only hit lefties which is not something this team is lacking.
Yeah, but that was just one at bat. Keep in mind it was the 5th and most pitchers are right handed, so he brought Vaughn in to face a lefty but it had to have seemed likely to Tony that the spot would come up once or twice against a righty later in the game. Overall (against LHP and RHP) Vaughn is not a better hitter today than Goodwin, though we all hope and expect that he will be soon.
Friggin’ TLR starting García at lead-off! Doesn’t he know that… oh, wait, never mind.
Ugh. I wanted more Goodwin.