Carlos Rodon victim of tough 1st inning

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Feb 28, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon poses for a portrait during photo day at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 1 prospect of the Chicago White Sox Carlos Rodon wasn’t as sharp on Thursday night as he was in his first start of the 2015 Charlotte Knights season, pitching to a no-decision against the Gwinnett Braves.

Rodon faced 23 Gwinnett batters on the road for Charlotte, where in his five-inning outing he allowed three earned runs on six hits and two walks. The left-hander struck out four and saw his ERA rise to 3.60 on the season.

Charlotte eventually won the game against Gwinnett, 7-6 in 10 innings.

The future White Sox starter had to throw seven pitches in the first at-bat of the first inning, beginning with a 2-0 count, but worked his way to a 2-2 count, only to evenly walk the first batter he faced.

That was followed with a single, a pop out to short, a strikeout (six pitches), an RBI single, a hit batsman and another RBI single that eventually saw the third out recorded on a throw to home plate in the first inning.

All of that in the first equaled 24 pitches. That was followed with a 13-pitch second inning with a run scoring on a two-out line drive. In the third it took Rodon 23 pitches to gain three outs, and from there he had innings of 11 pitches (fourth) and 16 pitches (fifth).

In all Rodon threw 87 pitches, 56 for strikes. In his first start of the season last week, Rodon had a career-high nine strikeouts.

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Since Rodon had two 20-plus pitch innings, it seemed like the night was more about getting behind in the count at times, rather than it being an overall poor performance by Rodon, which it wasn’t.

Of the 23 batters Rodon faced, he had a 2-0 count on just two occasions, and a 2-1 count on five occasions. He threw a first-pitch ball nine times.

Though this wasn’t a typical night for Rodon, he still managed to battle his way out of jams, and didn’t allow a run in the third, fourth or fifth innings, so he showed that continued progression of making adjustments to his pitches during the game.

One thing about this “off” start by Rodon is the fact the weather wasn’t that great for him either, with the game time temperature listed at 55 degrees in damp conditions.

Seth Lakso of the Charlotte Observer made a observation on his Twitter account @sethlasko:

Thursday can basically be chalked up to one of those teaching nights, and it showed how Rodon is able to fend off adversity and just grind his way through a start, even if he doesn’t have his best stuff with his changeup.

It seems like the fact Rodon not being brought up with the Opening Day roster is good for the No. 3 overall pick of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. As he continues to work on his “stuff” at the Triple-A level, it will only make him that much better once he does eventually get to make the move to the majors.

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