Carlos Rodon made his first career Major League start against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night, and took another step forward in his pro career. Rodon went six innings for the White Sox, striking out eight while walking four, and giving up two earned runs on four hits. He left with the lead and Chicago added onto it in the innings to follow, helping Rodon secure his first Major League victory.
Rodon remains undefeated in his MLB career, and now he has achieved the best winning percentage by any pitcher in the history of the sport. This is just as we have all anticipated.
All eight of his strikeouts against the Reds were of the swinging variety, as he was able to consistently get ahead of batters and hit them with the slider to put 'em away. Cincinnati had a tough time.
Both of those pitches were on 0-2 counts, and that second one is a work of art. For stretches, Rodon showed flashes of dominance, but the control issues cropped up here and there to get him in some trouble. He got himself into a bases-loaded jam in the third by giving up a walk and a pair of singles, and then threw a bad pitch that Joey Votto deposited into left field to score two.
He also struck out two guys that inning. The stuff was always there, even if the location wasn't always good. He was still hitting the upper 90s on his fastball late in the game, and he struck out at least on Cincinnati batter in each of his six innings. Cincinnati didn't get a lot of good contact on any of Rodon's pitches--there was a deep shot to left center, hard-hit balls were otherwise rare. A couple of Cincinnati's hits were bloopers that whimpered their way beyond the infield.
While there's still plenty Rodon will want to improve, he should be happy about his work on Saturday night. The bottom line is he put together a quality start and led his team to victory; that's not too shabby for a debut.
Congrats, Carlos! You're just a mere 299 wins shy of 300.