A win Thursday night never seemed very likely. With Corey Kluber on the mound and Cleveland in pursuit of their 15th straight win—a streak that features historic bludgeoning of opponents along the way–the White Sox were facing an uphill battle to say the least. Then things got even worse when Carlos Rodon was a late scratch with left shoulder tightness.
Winning games against teams who are running away with the division doesn’t matter a whole lot in years like this. Keeping potential stars of your next playoff team healthy, however, is about as fundamental a goal as you might have for a season like 2017, and if a pitcher has to get injured, the throwing shoulder is about as bad as it gets. So while it was no fun that Cleveland had scored four runs off emergency substitute Mike Pelfrey before an out was recorded, the focus of the evening was whether there would be any further Rodon news.
Unfortunately, as of this drafting, we only know that Rodon went for an MRI and we await further information. Rodon already missed most of the season, making his debut on June 28th, due to complaints of biceps pain, which didn’t appear to indicate any underlying structural issue. The White Sox are excellent at maintaining arms, and have demonstrated an abundance of caution in dealing with their potential future ace, but pitcher health—or lack thereof—is a force of nature, and there’s only so much mortals can do to combat it.
Pending the results of the MRI and myriad other factors, it remains to be seen what will become of Rodon’s shoulder, his 2017 season, and beyond.
As for the rest of the game, no one the White Sox put on the mound was particularly effective. Chris Beck had one of his better outings in some time piggybacking for Pelfrey, however, recent call up Jace Fry did not pitch as well as Rob Brantly. Given that Brantly isn’t a pitcher, that’s somewhat troubling, although the stakes here are low and pale in comparison to the big news of the night.
In other news, Yoan Moncada went 0-for-3 with a walk. That he lined out in the process of going 0-for-3 against Kluber did not deter some fans from launching into hysterics about how he is a bust and that the trade was a disaster. If you give Moncada even a league average BABIP—and again, someone with his speed should have more than that, although quality of contact is certainly implicated in BABIP—his line would be something like .200/.340/.360. Hardly world beating, but even without the luck boost, calling a 22-year-old with 151 major league plate appearances a bust when he is still posting a 15% walk rate and solid ISO is ludicrous. Over his first 135 PAs, even Mike Trout hit .220/.281/.390 so if you are considering public declarations of doom when Moncada strikes out against Corey Kluber of all people maybe take a long walk instead.
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