Carlos Rodon has been through a lot since he turned pro—a lot of serious injuries, mostly, including one that required Tommy John surgery. He returned last year only to struggle and get non-tendered by the White Sox, putting his career future into question. But he ended up back with the Sox, had a great spring, looked fantastic in his season debut in Seattle, and then, well, tonight happened.
The final out. A spectacular night on the mound for Carlos Rodón! pic.twitter.com/xkYMaLR9vP— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 15, 2021
It was after either the fourth or fifth inning of Rodon’s start where White Sox play-by-play man Jason Benetti said, half-joking, “hey, you never know.” Up to that point, Rodon hadn’t relied on strikeout stuff to get Cleveland hitters out; he’d struck out just a couple of guys after five, but had induced a lot of weak contact. He worked economically—a rarity for him in the pros—and that as much as anything else suggested tonight’s end result was possible.
The Indians started to hit the ball harder in the sixth and seventh, but the defense was good behind him, and after that Rodon showed the pure stuff he’s always had, and it wasn’t surprising to see him get stronger as the night went on. That Carlos Rodon never went anywhere, regardless the number of injuries.
Let's update that through the end:— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) April 15, 2021
Hey, 98.8 in the 9th there? His fastest pitch since 2016. pic.twitter.com/gGPB6wgDFL
That’s NC State Carlos right there. He’s rarely found this groove in the pros, but tonight it was all working. But for a slider that happened to spike on a Cleveland hitter’s foot, we’d be talking about a perfect game, not just a no hitter. Tonight Rodon realized all of the potential that made him a top-five draft pick in the first place, way back when.