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Carlos Rodón Effective with What He Has Left

Carlos Rodón made his last start of the 2021 MLB regular season against the Reds. Rodón looked crisp, but didn’t look the same.

Carlos Rodón White Sox
Photo: AP Photos

Carlos Rodón made his last start of the 2021 MLB regular season on Wednesday night. In a start filled with questions and concern, Rodón looked crisp. Though he did not look the same, he was able to have a very effective outing.

Rodón has been the subject of questions by media and fans alike over the last six weeks. The first-time All-Star has made six starts since August 7. He has battled what himself and the team have called “soreness” and there is a real concern of him being healthy enough for the postseason. Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa at one point said the team was “concerned” while Rodón said “it is nothing crazy.”

La Russa said before Rodón’s last start before the playoffs, “I can’t wait to see him pitch.” Rodón was going about 8-10 days between starts gathering as much rest as he could. On September 27, Rodón threw in the bullpen, but didn’t go all out according to La Russa. The former third overall pick in 2014 took the mound on the 29th, the first time since a three-inning appearance on September 20 against the Detroit Tigers. Guess what? He didn’t disappoint.

The left-handed pitcher let up one hit, walked two, struck out four, and threw eight swinging strikes in five innings of work. Rodón threw a total of 69 pitches, 43 of which were strikes. This was a statement game, signaling that he belongs in the postseason rotation, but something remains different. His velocity.

In the first half of this season, White Sox fans saw Rodón’s velocity in the mid-to-high 90’s. In the second half since he’s been battling “soreness”, it has been in the lower 90’s. Though the velocity was down, the command was spot on. Rodón was able to hit his locations and only allow one hit in five innings. If his arm is tired and he cannot throw as hard as he has previously, having ultimate control over the “stuff” you do have is extremely valuable.

Rodón was able to mix up speeds while mixing in the changeup and the slider. He was painting the corners and throwing perfectly up in the zone, down, and out. On what La Russa called an “important, interesting night”, Rodón kept it interesting. MRI’s showed no structural damage. Is this truly “soreness”? Dead arm? Or has Rodón been so nonchalant about everything because he has another gear?

Rodón is in a contract year. He’s a Scott Boras client too. Is he feeling fatigued and just waiting for the postseason to turn it on to secure the bag? As great of an outing as this was for Rodón, it seems there are still more questions to be answered. Though, if he’s able to keep the command like he did in this last start, fans should feel comfortable with him in the postseason rotation.

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