White Sox’ Rodon routed in disappointing final start of 2018

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Carlos Rodon of White Sox reacts as manager Rick Renteria pulls him from the game against the Minnesota Twins during the second inning on September 29, 2018 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS — Left-hander Carlos Rodon’s disappointing September ended on a woefully ineffective note Saturday in the White Sox’ 8-3 loss to the Twins — a second inning knockout that sends him into the offseason with a 9.22 ERA over six starts this month.

Making his last start of a season that began with much renewed promise, Rodon was pulled with no outs and the bases full in the second inning trailing 5-1. He walked four, gave up six hits and was charged with eight runs, needing 66 pitches (34 thrown for strikes) to record three outs, his ERA climbing to 4.18 ERA.

In his previous outing, Rodon (6-8) lasted 2 1/3 innings against the Cubs, allowing six runs on nine hits and no walks, looking nowhere near the pitcher who was 5-0 with a 1.84 ERA in July and August.

That’s about as bad as it could have ended for the left-hander being counted on as a leader in the Sox’ up and coming rotation. On the plus side, a year and a day removed from shoulder surgery, Rodon felt strong and his stuff was good, he and manager Rick Renteria agreed.

“A lot of pitches were somewhat center cut,” Renteria said.

Location, location, location.

“Stuff felt great, arm felt great, body felt good,” Rodon said. “It’s just, when you can’t get secondary pitches over the plate they are going to sit heater and they are going to tee off. Especially when you leave balls over the middle and you fall behind. It’s a recipe for disaster.”

Rodon wanted to feel good about more than his health going into the off-season, but he will take it.

“There’s some doubt in the beginning when you have shoulder surgery,” he said. “Am I going to come back the same and is everything going to feel the same? I had some clarity coming back this year and pitching and ate some innings. I had some fun. Even thought this last month hasn’t gone the way I liked, it was good. It was good to be back.”

Sox to pick third in 2019 draft

The loss ensured the Sox (62-99) will finish with the third-worst record in baseball, which gives them No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft. The Orioles and Royals will pick first and second, respectively.

The Sox must win their final game Sunday to avoid a four-game series sweep and their fourth 100-loss season in franchise history.

Moncada in select company

Yoan Moncada hit his 30th and 31st doubles to become the first Sox 23 or younger with 30 or more doubles, 15 or more homers, 60 RBI, 10 or more stolen bases.

Moncada became the fifth player Sox age 23 or younger to record 30 doubles, 15 homers and 60 RBI in a season, joining Chet Lemon (1977), Frank Thomas (’91), Paul Konerko (’99) and Carlos Lee (’99).

Sox make quick work of strikeout record

The Sox made quick work setting the major league record for strikeouts in a season as Moncada led off with a strikeout looking against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson (10-13) to tie the Brewers mark of 1,571 set last season, and Yolmer Sanchez followed by getting called out on strikes. With nine Ks, the Sox total is at 1,579.

Aches and pains

Catcher Tim Anderson left the game with a sore left knee and catcher Omar Narvaez with a stiff low back.

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