Command lacking in Rodon's big league debut
Lefty walks three, charged with two runs in 2 1/3
CHICAGO -- Somewhere during Carlos Rodon's wild Major League debut Tuesday night in Cleveland's 6-2 victory over the White Sox, catcher Tyler Flowers delivered an important message to the rookie left-hander.
"This is such a small thing, you're not going to remember this next week," said Flowers of his words of wisdom to Rodon. "Just try to forget about what has happened already. Just get out of this inning and move on."
"Yeah, a little bit of butterflies. It was fun to be out there, though," said Rodon of his first trip to a big league mound, before pausing and finishing with, "Considering."
Considering the White Sox No. 1 prospect, according to MLB.com, showed a lack of fastball command that had not appeared during his Minor League days or Spring Training starts. Rodon threw 60 pitches over 2 1/3 innings, with only 29 pitches going for strikes.
Rodon relieved starter Hector Noesi in the sixth with runners on first and third, two outs and left-handed-hitting Brandon Moss at the plate. He promptly walked Moss on four pitches, went 2-0 on pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn and received a mound visit from pitching coach Don Cooper.
The message was to calm down and finish his pitches. An eight-pitch at-bat took place between Rodon and Raburn, featuring an opening slider and seven straight fastballs ranging from 96-98 mph. On that eighth pitch, Raburn, who hits the White Sox like Miguel Cabrera hits everyone, dropped a two-run, broken-bat single into left to up Cleveland's advantage to 4-1.
"He comes with a lot of hype. He's got a great arm. I definitely saw that tonight," said Raburn of Rodon. "He probably had quite a few jitters this opening debut. I was fortunate enough to get a ball over the plate that I could do something with. I lucked out."
"Full count, had to go at him with fastballs," said Rodon, who added his wipeout slider was not effective on Tuesday. "And he's a good hitter."
Many people will lay the blame on White Sox manager Robin Ventura or Cooper for bringing a career starter into a high-leverage situation for his inaugural bullpen appearance, especially in a one-run game. Rodon offered no excuses for the misstep, and his constitution is such that he's excited to get the ball next and is not reeling from the rough debut.
Ventura understands Rodon's makeup and vast ability and isn't afraid to use him in any sort of relief role in the future.
"Regardless of what happened tonight, he's got good stuff and he's got good makeup," Ventura said. "Right now, I know he's stretched out to be able to go for a distance, but I'm not sitting here putting parameters on him that he has to be limited in appearances per week. We'll see how it goes as he pitches and how he does."
A scoreless eighth, including his first career strikeout of Lonnie Chisenhall, ended Rodon's night. It gave him something memorable from this first relief appearance in front of family and friends.
"Just the process and how to get ready for it. That's basically it," said Rodon of the adjustment from starting to relieving. "After this one time, I understand what to do."