CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon matched a career high with 11 strikeouts against the Cubs on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
The White Sox southpaw also struck out the side in the first, second and fourth. Sounds like a pretty good starting point for a victory in the battle for the Crosstown Cup.
Instead, Rodon and his teammates ended up on the losing end of a 7-2 final before 40,717.
Those strikeouts came over four innings, making Rodon the eighth starting pitcher since 1974 to record 11 strikeouts through four. He's also the first pitcher since at least 1913 to record 11 strikeouts in an outing in which he lasted four or fewer innings.
But four runs allowed on seven hits and three walks produced an early exit for Rodon after 98 pitches.
"It feels good. It's coming out good. The stuff is there," Rodon said. "I've punched out 11 before, but you'd think, 'Try to go 11 through seven.'
"[I] just have to try to get them to put the ball in play, make them swing the bat. Right now, you can see they're up there taking the first strike to make me throw pitches. That's two games in a row where I'm at 60 pitches in two innings. It's tough to go deep in a game for your team when that is happening."
Rodon said not finding a consistent arm slot wasn't a reason for not being able to fill up the zone with strikes. He said it could be rhythm and tempo or even mental.
During the third and fourth, Rodon said it was coming back to him a bit. But the overall outing still left him grasping for answers.
"Yeah, you could say that," Rodon said. "But we will find it."
"High pitch counts, the efficiency wasn't there, but he was able to still do a lot," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "All in all, his stuff is pretty good. It's lively. His ball is moving a lot. We're just trying to see if we can get it to do some early outs, keeping his ability to lengthen his outings."
Biceps bursitis caused Rodon to miss April, May and most of June, with his 2017 debut coming on June 28 against the Yankees. A case could be made for Rodon still really being in the first month of the current season, with Tuesday marking his fifth start.
"You could say that, but it isn't April. It's July," Rodon said. "[I] try not to give too many excuses for myself. I have to go out there and compete for my team and pitch the way I should pitch. It's not happening right now."
Rodon's two-run, two-out double in the second off of John Lackey stood as his first career hit. It was a nice moment for Rodon, but he would trade the double and the 11 strikeouts to go deeper into the game.
"We're trying to go back to square one, where the success was at the end of last season," Rodon said. "As you see, the command is not there, very inconsistent. [I] have to find the consistency again, find the strike zone."