Cease, Rodon add to anxiety
CLEVELAND — Left-hander Carlos Rodon’s primal scream echoed the White Sox’ frustration across empty Progressive Field. It cried out everything you need to know about the Sox’ first spin through their starting rotation in 2020 and their worrisome 1-4 start.
After giving up a three-run homer to Carlos Santana in the first inning of a 5-3 Indians victory that completed a doubleheader sweep Tuesday, Rodon let loose in the visitors’ dugout with an R-rated yell and a toss of his glove.
Making his first start since May 2019 after recovering from Tommy John surgery, Rodon faced eight batters after the homer, but he walked three Indians in the fourth and was pulled by manager Rick Renteria after 71 pitches.
“We are the heart of the ballclub; we have to pitch better, for sure,” Rodon said of the starting rotation.
Rodon was charged with five runs, following Dylan Cease’s four runs — two on home runs — in 2⅓ innings in a 4-3 loss in Game 1, Lucas Giolito’s seven runs in 3⅔ innings against the Twins on opening night and sore-shouldered Reynaldo Lopez’s four runs in two-thirds of an inning Sunday. Only Dallas Keuchel’s 5⅓ innings of two-run ball Saturday were satisfactory in five attempts against the Sox’ top two rivals in the American League Central.
“It’s frustrating,” catcher James McCann said. “Whether it’s a 60game season or 162-game season, you want to get off to a good start. The pressure is a little more in a 60-game season. We know there is a sense of urgency.”
The Indians (4-1) have pitched with urgency, getting five starts of six innings or more with two or fewer runs allowed. Aaron Civale and Adam Plutko did the honors Tuesday.
“Bad fastball command, bouncing my off-speed, not getting ahead,” Cease said. “Just not a good game.”
The Sox starters’ ERAs look like this: Giolito, 17.18; Keuchel, 3.38; Lopez, 54.00; Cease, 15.43; Rodon, 12.27. On the plus side, the Sox bullpen pitched scoreless ball in both games Tuesday.
“We have to do it sooner rather than later to give ourselves a chance,” Renteria said.
“I don’t panic very much,” he added. “I’m not a panicker. I went into the clubhouse and said, ‘Keep your heads up. Tomorrow is another day.’ ”
Taking it low and slow
Rookie Luis Robert is 7-for-19 with a walk and a homer in his first five games, but Renteria figures to keep him lower in the order to keep the pressure off early on.
Robert (.368 average) batted seventh in both games Tuesday, behind Nicky Delmonico, who played in place of Eloy Jimenez. Delmonico batted fourth in Game 2.
This and that
Jimenez was under league concussion protocol because of his initial symptoms from crashing into the wall Sunday. Indications were that his return could be near.
Outfielder Nomar Mazara, who went on the 10-day injured list July 21, joined the taxi-leaguers in Schaumburg.
McCann hit his second homer in as many starts as the catcher in Game 2. Jose Abreu hit his first homer and a double and scored on Delmonico’s single.
Tim Anderson snapped an 0-for-18 skid with a homer and two doubles in Game 1.
Lefty Ross Detwiler is one of four Sox pitchers to retire the first 15 batters of the season, joining Gary Glover (16 in 2001), Wilson Alvarez (15 in 1992) and Britt Burns (15 in 1980).
The Indians had 54 strikeouts through the first four games, trailing only this season’s Reds for the most all time (59) through four games.
Sox starter Carlos Rodon leaves in the fourth inning of Game 2 on Tuesday after allowing five runs to the Indians.