50th big league start is large for stellar Rodon

Young lefty matches career high with 11 strikeouts over eight innings

50th big league start is large for stellar Rodon

CLEVELAND -- Carlos Rodon's eight innings of dominance during a 3-0 White Sox victory over the Indians Sunday at Progressive Field marked the team's last road game of 2016 and the 50th start of Rodon's career.

The left-hander has a 17-16 record with a 3.95 ERA as a starter, with 293 strikeouts and 118 walks over 292 innings pitched. Those totals were improved by his 11-strikeout, two-hit scoreless outing that got ninth-inning help from David Robertson.

But beyond those numbers, the White Sox have learned quite a lot about the 23-year-old who makes a pretty sturdy 1-2-3 punch at the top of the rotation with fellow lefties Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.

"He's a horse," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That's part of even going into today. There's a lot on the line for these guys playing on the other side being able to clinch something, and he just had his mind set on it.

"Today, he was going out with a purpose. He was locating, he had great command on his changeup. It's a lineup that has been able to rough us up before and he responded."

Cleveland's lineup hasn't found much success against Rodon, who improved to 4-1 lifetime against the Indians and 3-0 with 1.30 ERA over five career starts at Progressive Field. Rodon didn't allow a hit through four innings, and he finished with a flourish by fanning Abraham Almonte, Rajai Davis and Jason Kipnis via two wipeout sliders and a 97-mph fastball in the eighth.

For the second time in his career, Rodon worked eight innings. He also matched a career high with those 11 strikeouts.

"[Catcher] Omar [Narvaez] called a great game and the boys played some good defense for me. It let me go a long way today," said Rodon, who threw 73 of his 108 pitches for strikes. "I was able to drive the ball today and when I'm going good, that's the way it is, driving the ball through the zone and attacking hitters. It needs to stay like that."

"[Rodon] worked fast, bulldogged, hitting his spots," said White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier. "When he did get in a jam, he settled down. You didn't see him get antsy or excited. He just bulldogged his way through and I couldn't be happier for him. Hopefully there's more of that to come for him next year."

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.