Congratulations to Rodon on becoming an answer to a trivia question.
His performance in a 7-2 loss to the Cubs was baffling. He obviously possessed enough stuff to generate plenty of swings and misses. Normally, when a guy strikes out 11, you're looking at a dominant outing, if not a victory.
Not so here.
Rodon faced 22 hitters -- only eight of which put the ball in play. (He also walked three.) But seven of those eight balls in play resulted in Cubs hits, and four of those seven hits went for extra bases. The biggest of those was a three-run home run by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras in the bottom of the first inning. The North Siders led from that point forward.
It's almost as if Rodon has become a three-outcome pitcher: It's either a strikeout, a walk or a cannon shot. Weird.
The other thing about Rodon's day: He collected his first major league hit: a two-out, two-run double in the top of the second inning off John Lackey. The Sox were 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position in the loss, and Rodon's hit was the "1."
It could have been a different game. The Sox hitters blew chance after chance after chance.
Bases loaded in the fifth after Lackey hit three batters in the inning. No runs.
Second and third with nobody out in the sixth inning. No runs.
First and third with nobody out in the eighth inning. No runs.
There was nothing doing in the clutch for the Sox in this game. Maybe they would have lost anyway because, well, they did give up seven runs. But things would have been far more interesting with even average offensive execution.
As for Rodon, he's the one remaining starting pitcher who is supposed to be a piece of the future. He's got to start being more efficient with his pitches. It shouldn't be taking him 30 pitches to get through the first inning. He shouldn't be piling up 98 pitches to get through four innings.
The Sox need him to be a six- or seven-inning pitcher, not a four- or five-inning pitcher like some of the retread veterans in the rotation. If he needs to pitch to contact more, so be it.
I read this morning that Rodon is averaging 4.24 pitches per hitter. That's up from 3.90 in 2016. (League average is 3.88).
In fairness to Rodon, he hasn't pitched much this year. He's been hurt. This was only his fifth start of the season. Hopefully, the lack of command is a sign of rust.
The Sox are clearly bottoming out right now in their rebuilding phase, and it would be nice to see a few signs of progress from some younger players who are expected to become cornerstones. Rodon is one of those guys. The team needs more from him, both now and in the future.