Chicago White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon is slated to start Wednesday against the visiting Cincinnati Reds in what figures to be his final tune-up before the postseason.
“It’s going to be an interesting night,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “An important and interesting night.”
That’s because Rodon, who otherwise has enjoyed a career year for the American League Central champion White Sox, including an April no-hitter, has dealt with arm fatigue down the stretch. The ailment prompted some time on the injured list and also spurred the team to put additional time between Rodon’s starts.
Rodon (12-5, 2.47 ERA) threw a bullpen session on Sunday in Cleveland but has logged just 13 innings over three starts this month, striking out 18 while pitching to a 2.77 ERA.
He left his most recent outing, a Sept. 20 start in Detroit, after three innings and 69 pitches.
What might be the expectation against the Reds, who boast a trio of 30-homer hitters in Nick Castellanos, Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto?
“That will be the classic example of observational analytics,” La Russa said. “Just going to watch him throw that first pitch in the first inning and see if it makes sense to send him out for the second. You hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”
Chicago (90-68) took the opener of the abbreviated, two-game interleague series with a 7-1 win on Tuesday night.
The White Sox benefited from Luis Robert’s third career multi-homer game as well as solo shots from Yoan Moncada and Gavin Sheets.
Cincinnati (82-76) was eliminated from contention for the second National League wild card earlier Tuesday when the St. Louis Cardinals clinched that postseason spot by earning for a 6-2 win against the Milwaukee Brewers. It was St. Louis’ franchise-record 17th victory in a row.
“We’ve been playing for winning all year long,” Suarez said. “We learned from this year, we know what we can do. We know we can make the postseason. We did it last year. You know, take it and move on and take it and think about the team, and come next year ready to make the playoffs.”
The Reds were limited to four hits Tuesday as their four-game winning streak ended.
Right-hander Sonny Gray (7-8, 3.99 ERA) gets the call for the Reds on Wednesday night. After going 3-0 with a 2.93 ERA in five August starts, Gray is 1-2 with a 4.33 ERA in five September starts.
The 31-year-old veteran took a no-decision against the visiting White Sox on May 5, yielding two hits and two walks while striking out eight in seven shutout innings.
Gray is 4-0 with a 2.93 ERA in seven career appearances against the White Sox, including six starts.
Chicago reached 90 wins for the first time since 2006 with Tuesday’s win. The White Sox trail the American League West-leading Houston Astros by 2 1/2 games for the No. 2 seed in the AL playoffs and home-field advantage in the division series.
–Field Level Media