CHICAGO – This has been a year unlike any other for the White Sox 2015 first round draft pick, and the first reason why is simple.
After struggling for years to do so, Carlos Rodon is healthy, not dealing with the myriad of injuries that limited his career so far in Major League Baseball. In conjunction with that, the left-handed starter is enjoying the greatest success of his career to date.
Keeping things that way is a priority for Rodon along with the White Sox coaching staff, since he’ll play a pivotal role in the team’s chance for the postseason and, what they hope, will be meaningful games in October.
For Tony La Russa, that meant plenty of rest for the pitcher during the All-Star break as he looks ahead to the second half of the season. As part of that, Rodon was the only member of the White Sox not to take part in the American League’s 5-2 victory last Tuesday at Coors Field.
“That was the plan. I wanted to save it for the second half as it’s more important,” said Rodon of not pitching in the All-Star Game.
That’s a tough ask for a player who made the “Midsummer Classic” for the first time in his career after a strong first half of the season that included a no-hitter against the Indians in April.
“I think he understood. Going there and being introduced and being an All-Star, and now he knows how important it is to try and help us get to October,” said La Russa of Rodon.
The pitcher showed he did with another masterful outing on Sunday in his first game on the mound of the second half of the season.
In another strong effort coming 12 days after his last start. Rodon went through a strong Astros’ lineup without trouble over seven innings Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field. He shut out Houston in that stretch, allowing just one hit with ten strikeouts, doing so without a walk.
It marked the seventh time that Rodon allowed two or fewer hits in a start this season, and the 4-0 White Sox win improved his overall record to 8-3. In 16 starts in 2021, he’s sporting a 2.14 ERA with 140 strikeouts compared to 26 walks and a WHIP of 0.90.
That effort on Sunday helped the White Sox take 2-of-3 from the Astros, who swept the White Sox in a four-game series in Houston back in June.
“I think we needed this. I think we needed to take this series and prove that we can beat them and we’re just as good as them,” said Rodon. “It’s something we can build off of.”
Rodon and his teammates will continue to do so as the summer winds down as they chase the franchise’s first back-to-back playoff appearance. While missing out on the chance to pitch in his first All-Star Game wasn’t ideal, the benefits were well worth it for the pitcher.
“That break was much needed,” said Rodon. “As you guys know, it’s pitched to an All-Star Break and after an All-Star Break. So I think I needed that for my body and I think it will do well over the second half.”