White Sox sticking with Carlos Rodón for Game 4; Astros switch to Lance McCullers Jr.

(Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports)

The postponement of Game 4 affords Tony La Russa some flexibility when it comes to the deployment of his pitchers, but the White Sox are still going to run the same guy out there for the first inning as originally planned.

Carlos Rodón is getting the start, and he’ll be backed by a nearly full cabinet of relievers. Michael Kopech is the only one La Russa is listing as unavailable, as he’s coming off a 47-pitch outing in Game 3 on Sunday. Lance Lynn could instead take his spot for an important long-relief spot. La Russa said Lynn was available out of the bullpen for an inning if needed on Game 3, so he’s even more of an option for Game 4, especially since Lucas Giolito could make a Game 5 start on full rest of needed. Lynn would be an unpopular choice, but better to use him at home than on the road.

If Rodón can go four strong, everybody who’s anybody can pick up an inning to try to get the game across the finish line, and here’s where I’ll again advocate going with Liam Hendriks for two.

PERTINENT: Two innings of Liam Hendriks can partially patch White Sox’s eighth-inning issues

As for the Astros, Dusty Baker originally planned on using Jose Urquidy for Game 4, but he’s instead turning to Lance McCullers Jr., who will be fully rested after his 6⅔ scoreless innings in Game 1.

That makes getting to Game 5 considerably tougher, as the White Sox have struggled against McCullers and his ability to get both grounders and strikeouts with his array of breaking balls. On the other hand, the White Sox were guaranteed to see McCullers twice this series if it lasted long enough, so the only way onward is through him. They may as well see if taking their cuts at Guaranteed Rate Field in front of a delirious home crowd changes their luck.

Speaking of which, both managers were impressed by the scene at 35th and Shields on Sunday.

“That was pretty cool, actually. It was different than Wrigley Field’s vibe and atmosphere,” Baker said. “That’s the most people I’ve ever seen … at this park. If I wasn’t playing a game, I would have enjoyed myself being here at this park. I don’t know if I have an all black outfit or not, but I would have probably gotten one.”

[…]

“When you mention the crowd to me, all I can think about is how amazing they were and the support and the adrenaline that they helped our club with,” La Russa said. “I’m just hoping — I don’t know if they can take time off and then get here at 1:00 tomorrow or not. I hope they can.”

(Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)

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GrinnellSteve

I’m glad Dusty took the bait. McCullers isn’t invincible. Remember how untouchable Giolito was against the Astros until he wasn’t. I’d much rather face McCullers here and then see what we can do against whomever in game 5.

calcetinesblancos

I could be wrong, but I feel like we’ll be better after seeing him again. Need to see more pitches and swing at more pitches in the zone.

HallofFrank

Absolutely. Even in game 1, he was laboring through 4. I think he was in the high 70s/low 80s in pitch count after 4, and it’s not like he was striking out a ton of guys. I like our chances to get to him in Chicago. Then, game 5 is anyone’s game.

burning-phoneix

Right, he was definitely not overpowering. 4Ks across 6.2IP and a LOT of well hit balls that turned into outs, mostly because the Sox were rapping Sinkers into the ground for the great Stros defenders to clean up. Against a lesser defensive team those could have turned into runs.

As Cirensica

Yes, McCullers is not what I consider an ace. He is a pretty good pitcher that happens to be armed with an arsenal of pitches our hitters find difficult to hit. Having said that, he can be beaten. We’ll find out in a few hours. I’m not nervous (pst…I am. Extremely.)

yinkadoubledare

Vastly prefer getting McCullers in Chicago than in Houston. I don’t think Framber vs Urquidy is much of a difference, and they were going to have to win a McCullers game somewhere, better they try to do it with their home batters’ eye and atmosphere.

I think Giolito’s getting game 5, given the things they’ve been saying. Maybe get some MLB people to listen for whistles in Houston just in case…

metasox

Yeah, ultimately, McCullers is a wash so game 5 could be the real rotation change if it is Valdez, Not sure how to feel about that potential change, but there is something to be said for seeing a guy the second time in a series. I can understand Baker’s viewpoint if he feels McCullers mitigates the Sox homefield advantage and he gets a better starter in a game 5 where Houston already feels confident it can win.

a-t

This rainout is advantageous for the Sox, imo. I fully agree that seeing McCullers a game early is a good thing— Sox are much better hitters at home this year, and a hostile crowd or unfamiliar mound might “help” McCullers remember that he walked more guys than any other qualified starter in the bigs this season. It’s the same story: the sooner the Houston SP leaves, the better chance the Sox have. Dusty might have been a little too aggressive with that hook for Luis Garcia, but that’s less his fault than the GM’s for providing him with a less than stellar bullpen front end.

What Rodon will look like is anyone’s guess, but if he isn’t good then I expect a quick hook and Lynn to get a chance at the bulk of the innings with the Astros’ lineup oriented towards hitting lefties. Furthermore, Tepera and Bummer should be fully rested with another day and ready to deal— but unless firebreathing Hard Karl from earlier this season unexpectedly shows up, they will need to score a bunch of runs.

soxfan

For all of his load management, Rodon has pitched 5 innings in four of the five games he’s started since he returned from the IL, with two of those coming against playoff contenders Boston and Toronto.

He’s been saved for a reason and the reason is tomorrow. I don’t see any reason to expect less than a qualifying start. Obviously it could be less and ideally it would be more, but he hasn’t pitched in two weeks so he should be as ready to go as he’ll ever be.

burning-phoneix

Jerry Reinsdorf conspiring with the Commish and Mother Nature herself to give RODAN and the bullpen extra rest days. All according to plan.

calcetinesblancos

I wonder if it would be worth going to the extreme with our left-handed hitters. I mean in theory we could get pretty crazy with it if we wanted to.

Sheets in RF and Collins at DH! Lol.

HallofFrank

I mean isn’t this just trading Hernández for Collins? Hernández is a better bet than Collins, and no one wants to see Sheets out there in RF.

Trooper Galactus

I’d prefer to see Sheets in right field over Collins anywhere.

As Cirensica

TLR should use exactly the same lineup used against Garcia.

hitlesswonder

Off-topic (yesterday vs. tomorrow) but I thought this was pretty cool:
Mic’d up Gioloito

Whatever happens, I’m glad that got that win in front of that crowd Sunday.

Last edited 2 years ago by hitlesswonder
Jason

That’s my take.

My only other Sox playoff reference point was Game 2 ALCS, which, until the AJ / Crede breakthrough, was characterized mainly by 40,000 neurotics on the verge of a heart attack – until the euphoria. I remember being disappointed we weren’t louder, but I was also too nervous to cheer.

This was like a 2009 or 2010 Hawks playoff crowd (before tickets became so expensive the fun die-hards weren’t as prominent). In the 500s where I sat, surrounded by fellow 2021 20 game season ticket holders, everyone was up and loud all game long (save 2nd inning sadness). I’d say 40% of the 4.5 hours we were standing.

Greatest game atmosphere of any sport I’ve attended in my life. Honestly I’m still on a bit of an adrenaline rush from it.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jason
Lorenzo Barcelo

As a 20 game season ticket holder, were your regular season tickets also upper level?

Jason

No. And the 20 games package is for next year bought this year to secure playoff tix. Seems like unless the package was premium lower box, they saved the corner 500s for the new Sth.

That said, the seats weren’t bad! I’ve become a bit of a seat snob, generally going to day games or weeknight games with lower crowd so I can sit in the infield as close to the field as I can. I actually think the 500s even in outfield sections are better views than the lower box corners (112-108). Of course, when the section is mostly empty, you miss out on the fan experience that makes the 108s fun.

Lorenzo Barcelo

Good to know, thanks. I had a 20 game plan for 2020, but didn’t get to experience the perks. Would you know if your playoff tickets for 2022 be lower level due to your season tickets being lower level?

knoxfire30

This worked out great, I am missing two half days of week as oppose to one now!

In total agreement with what most people are saying if you are gonna get McCullers twice the second time being in our park for a day game seems advantageous.

Sox in 5… then you get home field vs the bosox…. come on!

Foulkelore

Another hopeful advantage with facing McCullers again: the strike zone almost has to be better for the hitters. It was a very wide strike zone in game 1, and McCullers was throwing a lot of balls that were being taken that were called strikes. Even if the Sox don’t get to him much today, a true strike zone should lead to more balls, longer counts, and more pitches, and the Sox could at least get him out of the game earlier.

FishSox

The key for the win, will be walks. If one team issues significantly more free passes, they lose. Rodon has been a man among boys this year when he controls the strike zone and I would not be surprised to see him open the 7th if he keeps his walks down.