Rodon Outshines Kluber, Sox Bomb Indians 8-3
Earlier this week on the Shoeless Goat Podcast Episode 2, I made it clear the White Sox pitching matchup I was most looking forward to this week was yesterday’s matchup, Carlos Rodon vs. Corey Kluber. On paper, this matchup looked to be ace on ace, as much as we can call Carlos an ace at this point. It looked to be a barometer game for the Sox, and more importantly Rodon, going against the three time defending AL Central champs and their number one. Although Rodon did pitch decently on Opening Day, I wasn’t necessarily expecting a win in this one.
But man, was I wrong. Behind a strong performance from Rodon, the Sox avenged an ugly loss on Monday with a convincing 8-3 victory over the Tribe. Rodon improved to 1-1 on the young season in this one, going 6 innings and striking out 9, while only allowing 2 hits and a single unearned run. This was in stark contrast to Kluber, who got ran out early by the formidable (?!) Pale Hose offense, giving up 6 runs (4 earned) in only 3.1 innings. That included an absolute missile from 2019 AL MVP frontrunner and perhaps the greatest player of all time, Yoan Moncada.
Rodon Leads the Way on the Mound
I get it, it’s only the second start of the season for each pitcher, but the stark contrast between Rodon and Kluber in this one has to get Sox fans fired up. While I don’t expect Rodon to suddenly become a top AL pitcher in 2019, starts like this show exactly what we need to get out of him in 2018 – flashes of that ace potential as a part of a giant leap forward from what he has been.
The potential has always been there for Rodon, but it’s been sustaining these strong performances that has been an issue. Be it command problems, high pitch counts, or injuries, there seems to have always holding Rodon back. Seeing him put up an outing like this in April is sure a sign of encouragement for the rest of the season. I mean, you can see the filth from this one here yourself:
Going into this season, the starting rotation was easily the biggest question mark for the Sox. Mainly, we had to see steps forward by Rodon, Giolito, and Lopez. After strong performances in the opening series in Kansas City by Rodon and especially Giolito, Rodon kept the momentum rolling in his second start of the season. I’m not expecting 0 ER and 9 K’s every time out, but if Rodon can give us anything close to this consistently, I feel much better about our rotation moving forward. As I’ve stressed numerous times, this season isn’t about wins and losses, it’s about these core keys making strides so we can begin legitimately competing next year. And if two of Rodon, Giolito, and Lopez can slot in as middle of the rotation or better guys on a competitive team, well I’ll take it.
Our Bats Came Alive, Chasing Kluber Early
While we’re on this note about Rodon, I’d be remiss if I did not discuss the offense at all. I mean, this was a damn impressive performance from the bats. You had the aforementioned Moncada going 2-3 with 2 runs and the moonshot you saw above, Jose Abreu going 2-5 with 3 RBI’s and a double, Eloy with another multi-hit game, and even Lightning Leury Garcia setting the table with a four hit game. Again, not expecting this every time out, but if we can get big years from our core guys like Yoan, Abreu, and Eloy, this year is a success. Not to mention this was all without the bus driver himself, Tim Anderson, who is out on paternity leave.
Overall, not a bad series in Cleveland to start the week. While we should’ve won both, I’ll take what I saw. Given what we’re working with in this rebuild, can’t really be too upset with what Ricky’s boys have shown us thus far.
But now that’s over and done with. To paraphrase the great Bill Belichick, we’re on to Seattle. See you at 35th and Shields, folks.