The White Sox continued their winning ways against left-handed pitchers, putting up six runs against Justus Sheffield before driving him from the game. Yasmani Grandal, Yoan Moncada, and Yermin Mercedes all recorded multi-hit efforts in the game, while Andrew Vaughn drove in his first major league run.
On the other side of the ball, Carlos Rodon threw five scoreless innings, striking out nine, and a bullpen featuring Michael Kopech and Jose Ruiz was lights out in getting the Sox their 16th consecutive win against left-handed pitching.
W: Carlos Rodon (1-0) | L: Justus Sheffield (0-1)
Carlos Rodon: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 19 Swinging Strikes
Carlos Rodon had an excellent Spring, and the White Sox really needed him to bring that success into the regular season. So far, so good for Rodon, who threw five scoreless innings and battled around some command issues in the fourth inning to deliver much-needed five scoreless innings to help the White Sox bullpen. He induced 19 swinging strikes – an impressive feat in just five innings. So far, so good for Rodon.
Michael Kopech: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 9 Swinging Strikes
Kopech continues to prove why the White Sox have been so hesitant to trade him, despite not being on the field since 2018. While pumping only 96-97 mph, Kopech induced 9 swing and misses in just two innings and struck out five. He continues to look incredible in early outings in 2021.
Yoan Moncada: 2-for-5, 3 K
Yoan Moncada broke a 0-for-13 slump with two hits, and he looks to continue to get his timing back in order after what has been a tough start to the year.
Yasmani Grandal: 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB
Grandal took care of some early concerns about his offense this evening, hammering his 150th career home run in the second and driving in a couple more runs later in the game. Yaz will continue to be an important part of any White Sox’ success this season, and days like this are important.
Yermin Mercedes: 3-for-4, 2B, BB, 2 R
Yermin Mercedes continues his torrid start to his career on the South Side, registering another three hits and bringing his average on the season to .667. The reigning AL Player of the Week continues to provide plenty of smiles on the South Side.
Matchup of the Game
While it would’ve been easy to pick a number of major Rodon strikeouts in tough situations – all of which would be worthy additions here – I’m picking a Luis Robert walk. The conversations swirling around Robert continue to hammer home the idea that he needs to learn to lay off tough breaking pitches out of the zone. In this at-bat against Sheffield, Robert was able to lay off several good pitches and draw a walk.
Why is this so important? It shows that Robert has a good understanding of the strike zone. What’s most important now is being able to consistently show this patience and understanding. If he does, it forces pitchers to come into the zone.
Player of the Game
Player of the game honors go to Carlos Rodon. The White Sox needed someone to come in and give the White Sox some quality scoreless innings before handing it over the bullpen. Thanks to some help from the offense and some timely pitching, the White Sox saved some valuable innings out of their bullpen arms. That doesn’t happen without Rodon, however.
The White Sox take on the Seattle Mariners again tomorrow night – another late one, 9:10 PM CT. Lucas Giolito will make his second start of 2021, while James Paxton will oppose him with his first start.
You can view the game on NBC Sports Chicago.