White Sox 4, Cubs 0: Carlos Rodón spearheads streamlined win

White Sox win

It’s good to know the White Sox can accept notes.

Just like Friday afternoon, the White Sox came away victorious. Just like Friday afternoon, the White Sox once again scored four runs through nine innings at Wrigley Field via two runs early, then two runs later via the long ball.

But this time they shaved off the completely extraneous 77 minutes that bloated the final few frames of Friday’s game, and the result was a far tauter viewing experience.

Carlos Rodón picked up where Lance Lynn left off, throwing five dominant innings and striking out 11. He looked rejuvenated from his few extra days of rest, but Tony La Russa still played it carefully. When Rodón needed a little more effort to close out the fourth and fifth innings, he ended up pulling Rodón after a leadoff walk.

Just like Friday, Michael Kopech, Aaron Bummer and Craig Kimbrel handled the bridge to the ninth. This time Kopech stranded the inherited runner, keeping runners frozen on the corners with a popout and a groundout. Aaron Bummer handled the seventh by himself, and this time Craig Kimbrel pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, striking out two after starting with a loud flyout to center.

With the lead swelling to four and the bullpen holding the margin, Ryan Tepera closed it out instead. Maybe you’d prefer to have a pyrotechnic climax of a Liam Hendriks save, but it’s better to have too little tension than too much.

It seemed like the White Sox offense had a larger cushion in mind when they greeted Adbert Alzolay with two runs in the first. César Hernández poked a single through the hole on the shifted left side, Eloy Jiménez beat out a dribbler down the third-base line for his own infield single, and Yoán Moncada drove both in with a ringing double off the wall in left center.

Alas, Alzolay settled in and the White Sox didn’t score again until the eighth inning, when Hernández and Abreu went back-to-back off Trevor Megill.

Rodón needed no larger margin. He hit the mound with a livelier fastball and didn’t really relent, throwing it for 59 of his 78 pitches, getting 12 of his 19 swinging strikes. His slider also generated six whiffs on eight swings, and not a single one of the 25 was put into play, so the combination allowed him to shelve the changeup.

A third pitch might’ve been helpful in starting a third time through, but the at-bats grew longer over the course of a hot and humid afternoon. After a 23-pitch fifth and a six-pitch walk to open the sixth, Tony La Russa called for Kopech, who this time kept the game scoreless. The other three relievers followed suit.

Bullet points:

*Hernández is now hitting .345/.457/.552 over his first eight games with the Sox.

*The White Sox didn’t walk once while striking out nine times, but the Cubs struck out 17 times against two walks.

Record: 65-46 | Box score | Statcast

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Nice game, though they had better be able to beat up on the Cubs. No Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, Kimbrel, Tepera, Chafin. Unlike the Sox with injuries, that’s their real team now… ouch. Lot of good draft picks coming their way.

Yankees have made up 6 games in the standings in the past 10. When the Sox play them Thurs it will be the start of 14 with Yanks, A’s, Rays, Jays. With Robert back, that stretch will tell us a lot about where this team is really at. They need to get it together quickly.


It will and it won’t.

Trying to keep in mind what an old timer in line said to me, as the Sox were losing a game to Cleveland in Sep ‘05. Rough paraphrase:

“At this rate, I don’t even want to see them in the playoffs, they’re pathetic and they’ll embarrass themselves.”

I’d really like to see “The Core” get hot again and power numbers return for Anderson, Moncada, etc. The team could suck ass the next few weeks and give well-managed Detroit hope while we lose our minds, but it will all be forgotten if the right guys get hot in October.

Joliet Orange Sox

Most of the older readers here will remember 1984. The Sox disappointed after a great season in 1983. The Cubs had a big year that ended by losing a 5-game NLCS after to the Padres after leading 2 games to none (Game 5 featured the Leon Durham error).

I bring this up to mention the 1984 Tigers. The Tigers started 35-5 that season. They were a great team with players like Alan Trammel, Lou Whitaker, and Chet Lemon. The finished the year 104-58 by being less superhuman the rest of the way. In the other division, the Royals won the division with a record barely over 0.500. The Royals were never in 1st place until September.

The weird thing was that going into the playoffs, the local and national media all talked about the Tigers having the best record but being the team on the . Every news story mentioned their hot start but focused on their bad streak of losing something like 13 out of 20 at some point late in the season (cutting their division lead to under 20 games!).

The Tigers won the ALCS 3-1 and swept the World Series.

We can’t analyze every sample of a few games as a trend. Some team will get hot in the postseason. Let’s hope it’s our team.

Joliet Orange Sox

A tangential rant:

For the younger readers, Chet Lemon was a great Sox player before he was a great Tiger. Lemon put up 25 bWAR over 6 full seasons for the Sox before his 27th birthday. The Sox traded him to the Tigers for Steve Kemp between the 1981 and 1982 seasons. Lemon went on to put up almost 31 bWAR for the Tigers over the next 9 years. Steve Kemp had one mediocre year for the Sox and then went downhill. Kemp put up less than 4 bWAR total over several years hanging around the majors after the trade. I think this is one of the truly horrible trades the Sox have ever made because Lemon wasn’t a prospect but was a 26-year-old perennial all-star. He didn’t get better to make the Sox regret the trade. He just stayed great. ( I agree his career bWAR of 55.6 isn’t quite a hall-of-famer (although much higher than Baines’s 38.7.))


If I remember correctly, Kemp was hit in the head and had problems with his vision for the rest of his career.


Chet’s no Lemon!

I loved all the signs people made back in the day.

Pitch to Zisk at your own risk! Which later conveniently transformed to Fisk.

I remember making signs as a kid hoping to get on tv.


Lemon wasn’t great but I think his trade is an example of how baseball really has gotten smarter over time. He had that Bill James curse of not being great at anything obvious but instead really good at almost everything. His counting stats were good but not awesome. A lot of his offensive value was in walks and HBP which were much less valued in the 80s. His defense was terrific but not flashy and not well quantified. So, although he was a 4-5 WAR player for the Sox and got a couple of All-Star appearances for bad teams (cause somebody had to represent us), he wasn’t understood as a top-10 player in the AL, which is what he was. By contrast, Kemp had the flashy counting stats for HR and RBI so he looked like a fair trade for Lemon. I don’t think that trade gets made today.

Joliet Orange Sox

I agree completely with your point about counting stats and that we now take a more complete view. I believe the fact Kemp hit left-handed while Lemon hit right-handed was also factor in the Sox thinking in making the trade.

You say Lemon wasn’t great despite being a top-10 player in the AL. That seems like a very high bar for great. (Again, I agree Lemon is not a hall-of-famer but lots of players with similar career value (e.g. Buehrle) were great without quite being hall-of-famers.)

Brett R. Bobysud

So, is it okay to simply admit that it was just a bad day at the office for Kimbrel on Friday instead of him not being able to pitch in any scenario other than the 9th inning in a save situation?

Greg Nix

Clearly the simplest explanation is that he struggles on Fridays.


Or maybe that Kimbrel’s 0.49 ERA when we acquired him was, in part, a product of his unsustainably low 3.6% hr/Fb rate?

Last edited 2 years ago by soxygen
As Cirensica

Is it sustainable now?


Jim, looks like you forgot to mention Rodon’s name in the second to last paragraph. You go right from Azolay to talking about Los’ pitch selection


You’re too young to have those moments.