Rodon hits next level with first complete game

Rodon hits next level with first complete game

ANAHEIM -- In Carlos Rodon's last trip to the mound against the Angels, on Aug. 11 in Chicago, the rookie southpaw struck out 11 and allowed four hits over seven scoreless innings. It was the first time in his young career that Rodon finished seven innings.

Yet, his start on Monday night at Angel Stadium against those same Angels was even more impressive. And he lost this one, 2-1, while striking out just five and walking three.

It was the way that Rodon went about his first career complete game that impressed his manager and catcher.

"Just command, getting through it, being aggressive," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "He's been good the last couple, and I know he was good the last time, but this one seemed like command-wise he was just grabbing it and getting going. That's part of what we're hoping to see a little bit more."

Rodon picks off Trout

"He continues to show progress each and every time out," said White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, who was credited by Rodon for calling a great game. "Today we were able to throw even more changeups in there, locating fastballs to both sides of the plate. That's big for him. It opens up the slider-changeup mix later in the count."

Rodon also showed his maturity in his ability to handle adversity. Albert Pujols went deep to lead off the second and give the Angels a 1-0 lead, but Rodon came back and set the side down quickly. He felt as if his stuff was more electric in the last start against the Angels, but Rodon had more control of the zone this time around.

"That last one was good: He got in a bind early [in that start], walked the leadoff guy," Ventura said. "But this one it seemed like he just came right out of where he left off the last one."

"Getting early contact, throwing strikes, filling the zone early and trying to get guys out," said Rodon of Monday's game plan. "It's nice to see. I don't have to bring it all out, save some for later on. Just get it over and let them make contact."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.