Yankees’ Carlos Rodon goes on rampage vs. Twins, exorcises the ghost of 2023

New York Yankees pitcher Carlos Rodon is at Yankee Stadium during his game against the Minnesota Twins on June 5, 2024, in New York.

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With 16 strikeouts against the Twins and an ERA hovering around 3.08, Carlos Rodon‘s 2023 nightmares are finally buried deep. He was absolutely dominant for the five innings of his outing on Wednesday night’s game at Yankee Stadium, keeping the Twins’ batters off-balance with a masterful mix of pitches. The left-hander’s arsenal was on full display, as he consistently utilized his devastating slider and overpowering four-seam fastball to great effect.

Throughout the game, Carlos Rodon’s pitch selection was heavily skewed toward these two potent weapons. An astounding 74 out of his 100 total pitches were either sliders or four-seamers, showcasing his unwavering confidence in these offerings and their ability to baffle opposing hitters.

Carlos Rodon’s stellar performance is just one example of the tremendous impact he has had on the Yankees’ success this season. With their second ace firing on all cylinders, the Yankees registered an impressive win thanks to stellar defensive support and a buzzing crowd of 43,202—attracted by the Juan Soto basketball jersey giveaway.

Though Carlos Rodon’s bid for perfection ended abruptly when Carlos Santana lifted a homer over the short porch in right field, disrupting his pursuit of a perfect game, no-hitter, and shutout simultaneously, the Twins couldn’t muster much else against Carlos Rodon. The Yankees ultimately secured a 9-5 victory, marking their 11th win in the last 13 games. 

With the win, the Yankees have surged to the top of the standings, currently boasting a 44-19 record that is tied with the Philadelphia Phillies for the best in all of Major League Baseball.

Carlos Rodon’s latest dominant performance followed Luis Gil’s masterpiece on Tuesday night, showcasing the Yankees’ starting pitchers’ impressive form. He has now recorded a win in each of his last six starts, lowering his season ERA to 3.08.

Redemption of Carlos Rodon

While he fell short of pitching perfection, Carlos Rodon’s strong outing helped propel the Yankees to another victory, contributing to what is shaping up to be a memorable summer in the Bronx.

On Wednesday night, Carlos Rodon added a new highlight to the Yankees‘ dominant run, flirting with a perfect game into the sixth inning against the Twins before Carlos Santana hit a home run.

After the win, Carlos Rodon said about burying the ghost of the last season, “I was very frustrated with my performance. It made me hungrier going into the offseason. All I want to do is win and I want to perform well for my teammates. I don’t want to let my teammates down”

New York Yankees pitcher Carlos Rodon is pitching at Yankee Stadium during his game against the Minnesota Twins on June 5, 2024, in New York.

Carlos Rodon, who has now won six straight starts and lowered his ERA to 2.48 during this stretch, rebounded from a challenging 2023 season with the Yankees. Last year, he struggled after signing a six-year, $162 million contract. Forearm issues in spring training and back problems during rehab delayed his debut, resulting in a disappointing 3-8 record and 6.85 ERA in 14 starts. Manager Aaron Boone noted that Carlos Rodon was “kind of playing catch up all year.”

His lowest point came in Kansas City, where he failed to get out of the first inning in his final 2023 start, as the Yankees missed the playoffs. Reflecting on that season-ending loss, Carlos Rodon said, “It made me hungrier going into the offseason. I wanted to perform for my teammates. I was just really focused, determined” entering 2024.

Fueled by last year’s setbacks, Carlos Rodon has re-emerged as an elite starter, contributing significantly to the Yankees’ impressive start to this season, alongside other notable comeback performances.

Carlos Rodon eyes All-Star comeback in 2024

New York Yankees pitcher Carlos Rodón, right, pauses during an at-bat by Minnesota Twins’ Carlos Santana during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 5, 2024, in New York.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

On Wednesday night against the Twins, Carlos Rodon showcased his elite form, striking out a season-high nine batters and walking none. He allowed two runs on three hits in a challenging sixth inning, his final frame of the night.

He (8-2, 3.08 ERA) relied heavily on his primary pitches, throwing 43 four-seam fastballs and 31 sliders among his 100 pitches. This arsenal has been instrumental in earning Carlos Rodon consecutive All-Star appearances with the White Sox and Giants in 2021 and 2022. During that period, he posted a 2.67 ERA across 55 starts with an impressive 4.80 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

These outstanding numbers made Carlos Rodon a sought-after free agent, despite his history of shoulder surgery. Last spring’s physical issues created a challenging year for both Rodón and the team, according to manager Aaron Boone.

Boone acknowledged the difficulties, noting that it was a “weird year for us and him.” He credited Carlos Rodon for not shying away from the adversity, stating, “What you’re seeing is a guy who laid a really good foundation from the end of last year…on through this year” in returning to his All-Star form.

Carlos Rodon’s resurgence as an elite starter this season has been driven by his powerful pitching and the resilience he demonstrated in overcoming last year’s setbacks.

With a record of 44-19, the Yankees have won or split 18 of their 20 series this year, boasting a 16-2-2 record. They have outscored the Twins 28-7 in their five matchups, all of which resulted in New York victories.

The Yankees continue to dominate, driven by the sustained excellence of both bats and arms. Their relentless offense, combined with strong pitching, has propelled them to a stellar start this season.

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