HOUSTON — Left-hander Carlos Rodon remains in play as a starter for Game 3 in the American League Division Series, White Sox manager Tony La Russa said Friday.
La Russa said Rodon would have been announced by now if not for uncertainty about his shoulder, but there seems to be growing optimism from pitching coach Ethan Katz and even La Russa, who hasn’t brimmed with optimism regarding Rodon’s level of effectiveness since he came off the injured list.
Plenty will be placed on Rodon’s shoulder if he gets the nod. The Sox are fighting for their postseason lives after losing the first two games of the best-of-five series.
“The fact that we’re still optimistic means that he’s showing enough,” La Russa said, “but the throws he’s got to make between now and Sunday and Monday, they dictate. He throws; you see how he reacts. Just don’t know for sure, and he doesn’t know for sure. We’ve had a lot of talks about it.”
The Sox will announce Sunday’s starter on Saturday, a day off, before the team works out at Guaranteed Rate Field. It will be Dylan Cease or Rodon, La Russa said.
Rodon pitched five scoreless innings Sept. 29 against the Reds in his last start, but his four-seam-fastball velocity was in the low 90s, and his slider, one of the best in baseball, wasn’t always as sharp as normal. He allowed one run in 14 innings in two starts against the Astros this season.
With Michael Kopech fully rested and capable of multiple innings, Rodon handing the baton to Kopech is one scenario.
Astros manager Dusty Baker said right-hander Luis Garcia will start Game 3. Jose Urquidy is the likely choice if a Game 4 is necessary.
Until he grounded out in the ninth inning, Luis Robert had not been retired in two games. Robert was 3-for-4 with a walk after going 2-for-3 and reaching on an error in Game 1. At 24, he is the youngest Sox hitter to get three hits in a postseason game.
Robert has hits in each of his first five playoff games.
Shortstop Tim Anderson had three hits after going 1-for-4 in Game 1 and is 13-for-23 in five postseason games, including three in the wild-card series against the Athletics last season.
The 13 hits in his first five postseason games broke the record of 12 shared by Edgar Martinez, Ichiro Suzuki, Carlos Gonzalez and Marquis Grissom.
Anderson is also tied for the most hits in a five-game postseason span, joining Hideki Matsui, Fernando Vina and Will Clark.
This and that
The Sox are 0-6 in Houston, including a four-game sweep in June. They are 2-1 against the Astros at home, where they were an AL-best 53-28.
† Astros DH Michael Brantley extended his playoff hitting streak to 13 games.