Ahead of the Chicago White Sox playing the second of a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays, Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz met with the media to discuss several topics regarding his hurlers.
Katz began by lining up the White Sox rotation for the upcoming four-game set in Toronto vs. the Blue Jays. Lance Lynn will start the series opener on Monday, Dylan Cease takes the mound Tuesday, Lucas Giolito pitches Wednesday, and the starter for the finale is to be determined. However, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports Carlos Rodon is likely to return from the injured list to start the final game of the series north of the border.
Katz elaborated further on Rodon, stating that the White Sox will manage the lefty's workload through the end of the season in a way that allows him extra rest.
This announcement makes sense for both the White Sox and Rodon, who is currently on the 10-day injured list due to left shoulder fatigue.
The southpaw has enjoyed an outstanding season to date, pitching to a 9-5 record, 2.38 ERA, 2.57 FIP, and 0.957 WHIP in addition to a 13.9 K/9 rate across 109.2 innings (19 starts) in 2021. However, Rodon began to show signs of fatigue in late July when he endured tough outings on the 24th against the Brewers and on the 29th against the Royals. He pitched just four innings in each of those games, allowed 12 hits and six earned runs across those eight innings, and his fastball velocity was noticeably down in both starts.
The White Sox gave Rodon a bit of a breather before his next outing by utilizing off-days and a Jimmy Lambert spot start to provide the American League Cy Young contender some extra rest. The result? Rodon looked like his normal self when he returned to the mound against the Cubs on August 7, finishing with a final line of 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K.
Shortly after that outing at Wrigley Field, White Sox manager Tony La Russa named Rodon the starter for the Field of Dreams game. The timing of that start would have put Rodon back on a normal every-five-days timeline. But as the highly anticipated game approached, the White Sox placed Rodon on the injured list due to left shoulder fatigue.
Rodon has not pitched a full season's worth of starter innings since 2016 due to various arm injuries, so the White Sox exercising caution regarding his usage comes as no surprise. Taking advantage of a comfortable division lead and off-days on the schedule is a logical course of action for the White Sox as the regular season winds down, and that's exactly the plan that Ethan Katz has outlined for Rodon. If Rodon's August 7 outing on extra rest is any indication of what's to come for the southpaw in the final month-plus of the season and on into October, the White Sox rotation will remain one of the best in baseball at the most pivotal juncture of the 2021 campaign.