After two games in which the White Sox blew out the first place Indians by a total score of 19-5, the universe was ready to return to order. The White Sox had one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, Carlos Rodon, on the mound Wednesday night while the Indians sent Josh Tomlin out, who came into the game sporting a 7.36 second half ERA. It certainly seemed like the White Sox were well on their way to winning another series within the division, if far too late in the season to matter. However, baseball and its ever increasing entropy had different plans.
1. Rodon has been one of the best pitchers in baseball in the second half of the season. Working with Omar Narvaez has greatly increased his changeup use, which has paid dividends against right-handed hitters especially. Everything was going right for Rodon coming into this start, and then everything went wrong. He gave up three runs in the fourth inning after walks got him into some trouble and Jose Ramirez lined a two-run triple to right and scored on a Brandon Guyer single, but Rodon still appeared to look in control of the game. In the sixth, his changeup turned on him. After giving up two-straight hits, he left a changeup over the middle of the plate to Coco Crisp, who simply waited and crushed the ball out to left-center field. That blast marked the end of Rodon’s night. In just five innings pitched, Rodon gave up six runs and three walks while only striking out five. It was a step in the wrong direction, but one start does not derail the progress that he has made throughout this season.
2. Jose Abreu struggled mightily, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. The sample size is far too small to make any real conclusions, but it appears that Abreu’s strong affinity to playing in the field rather than being a designated hitter has affected his play at the plate. In 24 plate appearances as a designated hitter this season, he has just five singles.
3. As a whole, the Sox offense was dreadful against Tomlin, who has been very bad recently. This isn’t an entirely new phenomenon, but it certainly doesn’t inspire confidence. After two encouraging nights against two above-average pitchers, Sox hitters wer completely shut down by the Indians’ worst starting pitcher. The Sox collected just six hits the entire game, with five members of their lineup failing to reach base at all.
4. There have been very few bright spots in the White Sox season. One of which has been Melky Cabrera‘s recovery from a very bad 2015 season. Melky went 3-for-4 Wednesday, by far the standout of any Sox hitter in the game. The night Sox hitting had meant Cabrera was left on base each of the three times he reached.
5. In a game that has little to no meaning for the Sox, Robin Ventura managed to keep the important arms in the bullpen rested. Blake Smith, Michael Ynoa, and Juan Minaya all made appearances following Rodon’s exit. In the combined four innings they pitched they gave up just one hit, proving once again that baseball makes absolutely no sense.
Team Record: 70-75
Next game is Thursday vs. Cleveland at 1:10pm CT on CSN
Lead Image Credit: David Banks // USA Today Sports Images