It’s White Sox’ Rodon vs. Astros’ McCullers in rescheduled Game 4 of ALDS
Lance Lynn will be available in the bullpen. Lucas Giolito is the likely starter for Game 5, if necessary.
Carlos Rodon is still on for Game 4, and Lance Lynn will be available in the bullpen.
If the White Sox can force a deciding Game 5 in the American League Division Series with a victory Tuesday, Lucas Giolito would start again in Houston, where he started Game 2, on full rest Wednesday. But first, they’ll have to get past Astros Game 1 starter Lance McCullers, who was named to start Game 4 after it was postponed Monday because of rain.
The Sox are looking for their first good outing from a starter in the ALDS, and they are banking on Rodon, who has dealt with shoulder soreness the last several weeks, to deliver at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“That’s exciting,” manager Tony La Russa said Monday morning, about 11 hours after the Sox beat the Astros 12-6 in an exhilarating 4½-hour game Sunday night. “A must-win [Tuesday], and we can get to Game 5. I don’t know what Houston is saying, but that game was so long and with a quick turnaround, this makes for better baseball Tuesday.”
La Russa said everyone used in the bullpen with the exception of Michael Kopech would have been available Monday.
But “having the extra day off definitely is going to be a little bit of a deep breath and a breather for us,” said Aaron Bummer, who struck out four in 1‰ innings of perfect relief Sunday.
Rodon allowed one run in 14 innings in two starts against the Astros this season, and he is saying he feels better with each day. He told La Russa he could pitch in relief Sunday.
Lynn, who allowed five runs in 3‰ innings in Game 1, had his cleats on in the bullpen Sunday. He pitched in relief for the World Series champion Cardinals as a rookie for La Russa in 2011, so it’s not foreign territory for the 33-year-old veteran.
Having Lynn available in long relief is good knowing Kopech, who pitched 2„ innings of three-run ball and threw 47 pitches Sunday, needs two days of rest and wouldn’t be available till a possible Game 5.
Everyone else in the bullpen will be available Tuesday, two days after Ryan Tepera (two innings), Bummer (1‰ innings), Craig Kimbrel (one batter) and Liam Hendriks (one inning) combined for five masterful innings of perfect relief.
“We all wanted to play [Monday] to keep this thing rolling and keep the momentum, but, yeah, the extra day off definitely helps our bullpen,” said Bummer, who struck out four of the five batters he faced Sunday. “We used a lot of guys yesterday, a couple of guys longer than what we’re used to.”
The extra day also allowed the Astros to start McCullers, who threw 6‰ scoreless innings in the series opener on normal rest. Jose Urquidy was scheduled to start, but the Astros want to put the hammer down.
Rodon threw five scoreless innings against the Reds in his last start 12 days ago. If he brings the same 90-91 mph velocity, the concern is how that would play against the Astros’ vaunted lineup.
“It all depends which Rodon is present,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said after Game 3.
“According to our reports, he isn’t throwing as hard as he has before.”
“It would be better, the more velocity he has, the better his chances are of getting a lineup like that out,” La Russa said. “I think he’ll have more than he did that last game against Cincinnati, but let’s wait and see.”
“I think it’s going to be a little different than the last couple of times,” Rodon told reporters Saturday. “I feel like the adrenaline is going to carry me through, and I feel good right now. I think I’m going to have the stuff that I had before.”