NEW YORK – Left-hander Carlos Rodon watches what Chris Sale (8-0, 1.79) and Jose Quintana (5-1, 1.38) are doing and feels like he missed the boat.
”Unbelievable, man. I want to be part of it,’’ said Rodon, who will take a 1-4, 4.49 ERA into his next start when the White Sox open a home stand against the Houston Astros on Tuesday. “I want to be in the group with those guys, going seven or eight every game, winning ballgames like that. Sucks when you’re on the other side of it, but you know it will come.’’
Rodon, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, hasn’t won since April 13 and has allowed 13 runs on 26 hits over his last three starts. After going 5-2 with a 1.81 ERA over his last eight starts last season, Rodon was very good in his first two starts of 2016 but ordinary at best in his last five.
“A little rut,’’ Rodon said Saturday. “Have to put it behind me and compete for this team. These guys are putting up runs for me and I have to pitch well for them.’’
Sale, Quintana and Mat Latos are a combined 18-1 going into Quintana’s start against the New York Yankees Saturday afternoon. The Sox are 20-2 when those three start and 4-10 when they haven’t pitched.
Rodon had a side session with pitching coach Don Cooper Saturday and was planning for another one Sunday. Rodon’s money pitch is his hard slider but he thinks he knows what the issue is.
“I need to go after guys,’’ he said. “Attack the zone with the fastball and be a bulldog. Challenge them.
“There’s times when I miss off the plate just a little, trying to nick corners. I’m not ready for that yet. I’m not that guy, I’m not Sale who drops it in at 91 then comes after a guy at 96.’’
It helps to have Sale around to stop a two-game winning streak, but manager Robin Ventura said the Sox have the right mindset to stay out of ruts.
“They don’t hold on to it,’’ Ventura said. “It’s an older group, a veteran group. Every day they come in, they just find a way to focus on that day.’’
Ventura compared it to the mindset of a dog that’s excited to see its master every time it returns, no matter the length of the absence.
“Every day is a fun new day for them and they feel like they’re going to go out and win,’’ Ventura said.
Utility infielder Carlos Sanchez adds another dimension to the Sox’ loose vibe when he picks up Adam Eaton and rocks him like a baby.
“I’m going to have to look for that,’’ said Ventura, who hadn’t see what had made the internet rounds the night before after it was caught on camera. “Whatever. Whatever makes it fun.’’
Said Eaton, who is 5-8: “I’m a daddy [new father] now, but he says I’m still a baby so he likes to coddle me and rock me to sleep. That’s kind of our handshake and celebration.”