Carlos Rodon deftly maneuvers Yankees out of danger against loaded Astros bases

Yankees pitcher Carlos Rodon in different moods during his game against the Astros in Houston on March 29, 2024.

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In search of redemption, Carlos Rodon displayed a masterclass in managing baserunners on Friday night, helping the Yankees to a dominant 7-1 victory over the Astros. His approach mirrored that of a seasoned crossing guard – allowing traffic (runners) to flow when safe, but swiftly halting it when necessary.

While Carlos Rodon’s first 2024 season start presented its share of challenges – evidenced by five hits, three walks, and even a need for two jersey changes – his resilience shone through. Despite these hurdles, he effectively limited Houston’s offense, allowing only one run across 4 ⅓ innings pitched on 87 throws.

A pivotal moment arrived in the fourth inning. With two outs and runners on base, Carlos Rodon uncorked a well-placed elevated cutter to strike out Yordan Alvarez, a critical escape that ignited a celebratory fist pump as he descended the mound.

The lone run surrendered by Carlos Rodon came in the first inning, as a diving Alex Verdugo narrowly missed snaring an RBI single off Alex Bregman’s bat. Throughout the game, he showcased his pitching repertoire, primarily relying on a three-pitch arsenal. His new cutter complemented his existing fastball-slider combination, proving instrumental in navigating through tricky situations.

Yankees pitcher Carlos Rodon returns to dugout after throwing five innings to the Astros in Houston on March 29, 2024.
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Carlos Rodon escapes bases-loaded jam against Houston

Carlos Rodon’s season debut for the Yankees was a baptism by fire, but he emerged victorious on Friday night. The left-handed pitcher displayed the perseverance of a tightrope walker, navigating a series of threats to limit the Astros to just one run across 4 ⅓ innings in their 7-1 win.

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Despite surrendering five hits and issuing three walks, Carlos Rodon displayed impressive resilience by leaving seven Astros stranded on base. His four strikeouts also helped stymie Houston’s offensive rhythm. The intensity of the outing was evident in Carlos Rodon’s sweat-drenched jersey, necessitating a change after three innings. However, he effectively navigated the challenges and prevented significant damage.

Following the win, Carlos Rodon expressed his team-oriented approach. He prioritized the Yankees’ victory, acknowledging areas for improvement in his next outing but ultimately thrilled about the team’s success. This sentiment aligns with his focus on the team’s collective performance.

“I’m never gonna be mad when our team wins.” he said. “I’m happy we came out with a win. I know there’s room for improvement throughout the week leading into the next start. But I’ll walk away today happy that the Yankees won.”

During spring training, Carlos Rodon experimented with a five-pitch arsenal including curveballs and changeups. However, Friday’s game saw him primarily rely on his fastball, which topped out at 98.3 mph. He opted for just one changeup and threw no curveballs on the night.

While Carlos Rodon battled through a demanding first outing since a challenging debut season with the Yankees, Astros starter Cristian Javier maintained his reputation as a tough opponent for the Bronx Bombers.

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