Carlos Rodon was summoned from the bullpen for a spot start Saturday, but his performance may have just won him a permanent job.
The Chicago White Sox rookie showed flashes of brilliance Saturday with his exceptional array of swing-and-miss offerings, allowing just two runs on four hits while striking out eight to pick up the win in his first career start. Rodon, the third overall pick in last year's draft, was starting in place of right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who dropped his appeal of a five-game suspension this week.
Rodon walked four and threw 67 of his 108 pitches for strikes while topping out at 99 mph and mixing in a devastating slider to keep Cincinnati Reds hitters off balance for most of the outing. The left-hander exited to a 5-2 lead before the White Sox tacked on a few more to split the day-night doubleheader with an 8-2 win.
"He has some poise," manager Robin Ventura told reporters after the game. "He stayed with it. I thought even knowing how the first game went and knowing he has to eat up some innings, it was a big spot and he came through."
Rodon, who walked a pair in the first before striking out Reds All-Star Joey Votto with a late-breaking slider, found his groove in the middle innings, bouncing back from a rough third to retire eight straight in the fourth and fifth.
The 22-year-old threw 16 first-pitch strikes and induced 12 swinging whiffs on the night.
Rodon, who pitched well in two starts at Triple-A Charlotte, struggled in his major-league debut April 21 against the Cleveland Indians, but has performed strongly since by throwing four scoreless relief appearances ahead of Saturday's start.