Chicago White Sox: All Star’s put on showcase in Minnesota
On Sunday Lance Lynn, Carlos Rodón and Liam Hendriks of the Chicago White Sox were each selected as members of the American League All-Star team. The news was the beginning of an eventful week in Minneapolis.
The Chicago White Sox All-Stars came to play since being named to the team.
The week continued with the White Sox losing Yasmani Grandal to injury, then witnessing an unreal superman catch from Billy Hamilton, followed by Adam Eaton being DFAed, and ending in an impressive 6-1 win on Wednesday to earn a 2-1 series victory over the Minnesota Twins.
The three-game series at Target Field was also a showcase for each of the White Sox three All-Stars to show why they will be headed to the midsummer classic. Each made their first appearance since the announcement and they did not disappoint.
Carlos Rodón took the mound Tuesday evening looking to end the White Sox three-game losing skid. His task was made difficult by the constant rain falling throughout the night that made throwing conditions unpleasant. Jose Barrios made his job even more difficult by only allowing one hit in an intense pitcher’s duel. Rodón was spotted a quick 2-0 lead but was left little margin for error.
He was up to the challenge, tossing six innings of one-run ball with no walks and striking out eight hitters. He even showed off his glove in the third inning to escape a jam. With runners on second and third and only one out, Miguel Sano hit a comebacker right at the pitcher’s mound.
Rodón made a nice pick and was able to hold the runners before tossing it to first for out number two. Then he got Gilberto Celestino to line out to end the threat. Rodón has struck out at least eight hitters in nine straight starts. None were bigger than his final strikeout of the day.
In the sixth inning, the Twins had the tying run at third base and the go-ahead run at first base with one out. Rodón’s pitch count was also climbing so he decided to ramp it up. He managed to strike out Ryan Jeffers for the second out on a 100.4 mph fastball.
Then he three Max Kepler two straight fastballs of 99.6 and 99.1 mph. With his 103rd pitch of the game, he reached back and fired thrid consecutive fastball, this time at 100 mph, past Max Kepler for his final act of the night. He emphatically jumped off the mound and began screaming while pounding his chest like a beast.
“I just wanted to keep that lead coming out of the inning,” Rodón said Tuesday night. “It was a big situation. Big strikeout. My breaking ball wasn’t great today. They did a good job laying off it. Luckily the fastball showed up a little later. Got us out of some big jams.”
Rodón will be heading to his first All-Star game. After throwing a no-hitter in April and dominating to the tune of a 2.31 ERA, he will be competing with Lance Lynn for a chance to start the All-Star game. It was his final performance before the All-Star break and he left a grand impression.
“There’s a lot of things that are exciting about him,” Tony La Russa told reporters after the game. “But one of the things is how he can rise to the occasion and make pitches in clutch situations. He’s done it pretty much every start.”
It was then Liam Hendriks’ turn to show off why he was an All-Star. With his selection, he became the first Australian-born player to ever appear in two All-Star games. After not pitching since July 1st, Tony La Russa opted to bring him in, in the eighth inning to record a six-out save. The rain had picked up but that didn’t seem to bother Hendriks. He stuck it to his former team but striking out the side in the eighth inning. All three Twins hitters fell victim to his curveball.
Jorge Polanco stood there frozen as he watched a curveball drop into the zone for strike three. Nelson Cruz went fishing in the mud for a curveball. Alex Kirlloff went down swinging when Hendriks pulled the string on a curveball low and away.
In the ninth inning he struck out Ryan Jeffers for his fourth consecutive K. He got some help from Billy Hamilton on a spectacular defensive play in center field for the second out. Hendriks ended that game but getting Miguel Sano to hit a weak fly ball to left field to end the game. Just like that six up six down in 27 pitches.
The save gave Hendriks his league-leading 22nd of the year and helped earn Carlos Rodón the win. The two All-Stars helped the White Sox claim their 50th victory of the season.
Lance Lynn picked up right where they left off the following day. He was his usual self on the hill. Bullying hitters, strutting around, and racking up K’s. He recorded his 100th strikeout of the season in the bottom of the first inning en route to six on the day. He pitched six innings and only allowed one run off four hits.
He did walk three hitters but was able to work traffic with some timely strikeouts early in the game. He punched out Jorge Polanco swinging to with a runner on first base to end the third inning. With runners on first and second in the fourth, he struck out Nick Gordon and Ben Rortvedt to end the inning.
It is what he has been doing all year long. That is part of the reason he has become an instant fan favorite. Lynn told reporters on Monday that he is a South Side guy. He became the fourth White Sox starting pitcher this season to record over 100 strikeouts. That is the first time in franchise history that has happened before the All-Star break.
Lynn has a legitimate case to be the American League starting pitcher. His quality start lowered his ERA to 1.99 and improved his record to 9-3. That definitely sits well with South Siders. Watching performances like the ones we saw in Minnesota from the White Sox All-Stars should too.