Carlos Rodon made his return from a sprained wrist to take on Ervin Santana and the Minnesota Twins in the rubber match on Sunday. The Twins committed four errors (five without friendly score keeping). They won anyway. Sigh.
• Rodon’s first inning back from a sprained wrist was one to forget. A booming leadoff double from Brian Dozier set an early theme: hard pull contact. Three batters later, small giant Kennys Vargas sent a ball well out to center. It took 27 pitches to get through the first, and this game had the early makings of blowout. The return of some control for Rodon, paired with the Twins audition for Bad News Bears 2 kept this from getting out of hand.
• While the Twins were booming balls to left (including three home runs left of center), the Sox spent the day scoring in unconventional fashion. In the third, three two-out singles plated Adam Eaton and sparked a little offensive excitement that was quickly extinguished when Tim Anderson was nabbed while rounding second. In the fourth, the Twins gifted the Sox two runs as throwing errors on consecutive batters scored Frazier and Saladino. In the eighth, a botched double-play ball would score another run. The final tally: four runs (one earned) on four Twins errors. Yes, the Twins are a professional baseball team. And yes, the White Sox lost this game.
• The Zach Duke trade seems to indicate that the front office is in sell mode. The Sox starting lineup seems to indicate their disinterest in winning. It saw Todd Frazier at first, Avisail Garcia manning his statuesque post in right, and a bottom half that read Garcia-Saladino-Narvaez-Sanchez. There is no sugar coating it. This is bad.
• The Twins lineup, on the other hand, indicated a clear strategy. There were eight righties in to face Rodon. One look at his splits indicates why. Righties own an .878 OPS on the season against Rodon, compared to .552 from lefties. Rodon’s hair-raising slider is strong enough to keep southpaws off balance even if no one is sure where it’s going. The same can’t be said for orthodox hitters. Rodon will only go so far as his location/development of a third offering will take him. If he lacks those two, righties can sit on his fastball and pound it to left, which is precisely what they did.
• Today’s game featured Rodon giving way to Carson Fulmer late. The White Sox have placed a lot of faith in their ability to draft and develop college pitchers. With all the discussion of a Sale or Quintana trade, here’s to hoping there are much better days ahead for these two.
Team Record: 51-54
Next game is Tuesday at Detroit at 7:10pm CT.