For as much aggravation that Tuesday night’s loss to Cleveland brought, Wednesday night looked like the version of the Chicago White Sox that we all expected out of Spring Training. But that wasn’t the story of the night. Carlos Rodon, who has battled injuries pretty much all of his major league career after being drafted in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft, became the 20th pitcher in White Sox history to throw a no-hitter.
The lineup delivered an early knock-out punch with six runs crossing the plate in the first inning. Yoan Moncada drilled a liner back past Cleveland starter Zach Plesac that plated Adam Eaton to make it 1-0, and then Yermin Mercedes blew it wide open with a monster home run that traveled 431 feet into the night sky at Guaranteed Rate Field the very next at-bat.
Leury Garcia (double) and Nick Madrigal (single) each drove in runs before all was said and done in the opening frame, and the White Sox led Cleveland 6-0 after one frame. The White Sox would tack on two more runs on the night, but the night belonged to No. 55 on Wednesday night.
Rodon, who tossed five scoreless innings in his first start of the season against the Seattle Mariners with nine strikeouts, was dealing on Wednesday night. The 28-year-old southpaw took a perfect game into the ninth inning despite not having his slider working for much of the night. Even relying on his fastball and changeup, Rodon stymied Cleveland’s offense.
After Jose Abreu made an incredible stretch to beat Josh Naylor on a ground ball to the right side by quite literally, a fingertip, Rodon hit Carlos Perez with an 0-2 slider on the tip of his toe to spoil the perfect game bid. But Rodon would strike out Yu Chang and induce a 5-3 groundout to left-handed killer Jordan Luplow to secure his no-hitter, and an 8-0 White Sox victory.
I’ve written countless stories over the years about Carlos Rodon struggling to stay on the field, and stay consistent when actually on the field. To see him etch his name into the record books with a no-hitter on Wednesday night, was special.
A talented southpaw with a fierce competitive streak admitted during the post-game interview with Jason Benetti and Steve Stone that there were days in which he questioned his future in baseball. Now, after being non-tendered by the White Sox this past winter, and brought back on a one-year, $3 million prove-it deal, Carlos Rodon is beginning to look like the pitcher the White Sox thought that they were getting when they drafted him out of North Carolina State nearly seven years ago.
Rodon struck out seven hitters while walking none on the evening, throwing 75 of his 114 pitches for strikes. He’s now 2-0 with a perfect 0.00 ERA, 16 strikeouts, and just three walks in 14.0 innings of work this season.
After celebrating with his teammates after the final out, Rodon put on the headset to speak with Jason Benetti and Steve Stone and said, “what just happened, man?”
What happened was a no-hitter. What might have happened, is Carlos Rodon’s long-awaited coming-out party. Time will tell, but the 28-year-old and his family deserved tonight regardless of what’s left to be written in his story in Major League Baseball.
Welcome to elite company, Carlos.
Featured Photo: Chicago White Sox via Twitter