Rodon settles in after early runs in '16 debut

Rodon settles in after early runs in '16 debut

OAKLAND -- Allowing two runs on seven hits over seven innings served as a solid season debut for Carlos Rodon on Wednesday night against the A's at the Coliseum, especially since the A's scored both of those runs in the first two innings.

Not good enough in Rodon's mind, though, after the White Sox suffered their first loss of the 2016 season by a 2-1 margin.

"I like winning," said Rodon, who threw 61 of his 99 pitches for strikes. "Sometimes things don't go your way, and that's baseball."

"We made some adjustments to try and get him in a nice rhythm," White Sox catcher Alex Avila said. "From there on, he pitched really well."

Rodon has the pedigree to be an elite starting pitcher. Coupled with Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, the 23-year-old gives the White Sox one of the top rotation trios in all of Major League Baseball.

He's also young, both in age and experience, with 24 starts behind him, counting Wednesday's six-strikeout, one-walk performance. Oakland started the game with singles from Billy Burns and Khris Davis on five pitches.

That first-and-third, nobody-out situation resulted in Jed Lowrie's sacrifice fly and nothing more. Rodon then settled down, aside from an opposite-field, one-out homer from Mark Canha in the second, and allowed multiple baserunners one more time in the sixth.

Canha lined out to end that frame and strand two runners, following a Josh Phegley swing and miss off Rodon's devastating slider that he used to finish off four strikeouts.

"When he gets through it and finishes the pitch, it's pretty good. It's a swing-and-miss slider, it kind of disappears on you," Avila said. "I've faced guys with sliders like that and usually when they're able to command the fastball and finish -- and I mean finish the pitch. Sometimes you can get around it and it will stay up, but a slider like that, the way he throws it's a devastating pitch."

"Control, composure all that stuff, he threw great," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "At the end, he did what he had to do and Sonny [Gray] did what he had to do."

Adjustments towards the fastball after those first two innings left Rodon throwing 60 two-seamers and 13 four-seamers against 20 sliders and six changeups, per Brooks Baseball.

"He looked great. He was effectively wild today," Avila said. "At times he didn't have the best command but was able to make enough pitches and get enough strikes to where they were still swinging. He had a real good two-seamer today and was able to get some swings and misses and ground balls, too. Overall, I thought he pitched well."

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