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Rodon puts solid bullpen session to good use

Young lefty fires 6 2/3 quality innings vs. AL Central leaders
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- The quality start put together by Carlos Rodon in the White Sox 3-1 walk-off victory over the Indians on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field actually took root during a quality bullpen session Friday.

"Bullpen days for starters are big," said Rodon, who finished with a no-decision after allowing one run on six hits over 6 2/3 innings while striking out nine and walking two. "It's a day we work, and it's real concentrated work.

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CHICAGO -- The quality start put together by Carlos Rodon in the White Sox 3-1 walk-off victory over the Indians on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field actually took root during a quality bullpen session Friday.

"Bullpen days for starters are big," said Rodon, who finished with a no-decision after allowing one run on six hits over 6 2/3 innings while striking out nine and walking two. "It's a day we work, and it's real concentrated work.

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"What you try to do is build on that and bring it into the game. So [White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper], [White Sox bullpen coach Curt Hasler] and I figured some stuff out and built off of it."

Rodon threw a season-high 110 pitches and put together the first White Sox quality start not thrown by Miguel Gonzalez (three times) in the past 19 games. As a rotation, the White Sox have 14 quality starts in their last 60 games, including Rodon's effort.

In his last start Tuesday against the Cubs, Rodon struck out 11. He also threw 98 pitches over four innings in the loss, leaving Rodon searching for answers but confident he would find them. Rodon pitched off his fastball Sunday, featuring better overall command and topping 97 mph twice in the sixth and going over 96 mph seven times in the seventh.

Tweet from @whitesox: That's 20 Ks over the last two outings for Carlos. ������ pic.twitter.com/buRDlVJPRI

"His stuff is still good," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "He's getting a handful of starts under his belt now and you're starting to see the velocity creep up. The breaking ball's good. He's probably still not commanding like he will, or how he was learning to, but he kept us off the barrel.

"When we had men on, he made pitches. He was a guy who, before he got hurt, was really starting to figure it out. He was getting pretty good, so I don't doubt that he'll get back there. You can just see the touch and feel maybe isn't where it will be."

Sunday marked start No. 6 this season for Rodon, who debuted June 28 after missing three months of the season due to biceps bursitis. While this is the home stretch for many starting pitchers, it's still sort of the beginning for the left-hander. But early or not, Rodon was set on getting things back on target after his uneven Cubs start, and his weekend work points in the right direction.

"Velo was there [with the fastball], so we could pitch off of it," Rodon said. "I know going in they are going to be patient and try to make me throw strikes. If I can attack the zone and get them to swing and put them in swing mode, then it's to my advantage. If not, it's to their advantage. Today happened to be my advantage."

"He did actually do what he said he wanted to do," White Sox manage Rick Renteria said. "People are always working, and sometimes the work doesn't transition from the work routine to the field. But in this instance, I think it did."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Carlos Rodon