Frustrated Rodon seeks consistent execution

Lefty allows five runs with seven strikeouts over 6 1/3 IP vs. Twins

Frustrated Rodon seeks consistent execution

MINNEAPOLIS -- As Carlos Rodon stood up to talk with the media following the White Sox 6-4 loss to the Twins on Sunday at Target Field, he took the chair where he had been seated and pushed it forcefully into his locker.

This movement pretty much summed up how the White Sox southpaw felt about his performance against the American League Central's last-place team. Rodon hadn't pitched at the big league level since July 5, when he was roughed up by the Yankees for five runs on 12 hits, but that extended absence due to a sprained left wrist wasn't working as an excuse for the 23-year-old.

"It's not an excuse. I've just got to be better," a clearly frustrated Rodon said after the White Sox fell to 51-54. "The team scores four runs and I have to keep these guys to less than four. That's my job. I didn't do it today.

"Everything felt good. They just put good swings on the ball and made it happen. I have high expectations. It just didn't happen today."

And those expectations might be where the problem lies for Rodon and White Sox fans.

Taken as the third pick overall in the 2014 Draft, perceived by many as a true blessing to fall to three for the White Sox, Rodon hasn't achieved that elite starting status. Yes, he did have an eight-start stretch at the end of 2015 where the opposition scored two runs or less and he hurled at least six innings every time out, but his closing excellence has not carried over.

His 2-8 record and 4.67 ERA marks his first real brush with a subpar performance as a baseball player. He allowed three runs on four hits in the first inning Sunday, but finished with five runs allowed on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings, while striking out seven and walking two.

Confidence and repertoire are in place for Rodon. It's about the execution for a developing pitcher.

"There's some security in that you have the stuff," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That stuff is hard to come by, what he has inside of him. If there's not success the first time through [the lineup], people want to write it off as though he can't do it. But not everybody grabs that the first time through. As much as everybody learns about him and he's learned about himself, it's going to take a little while."

"It will start clicking soon," White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier said. "He knows what he needs to do. He's been working with [White Sox pitching coach Don] Cooper and [Chris] Sale and eventually it will start clicking."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. 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.