Carlos Rodon retires 11 straight, allows no walks in Yankees’ 5-1 rout of twins

New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon is in action against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Minneapolis.
Michael Bennington
Wednesday May 15, 2024

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In a decisive 5-1 victory against the surging Twins on Tuesday, Yankees’ pitcher Carlos Rodon showcased his prowess on the mound once again. Despite a shaky beginning, the lefty quickly found his rhythm, leaving Minnesota’s batters struggling to advance beyond first base for the majority of the game.

This marks the fourth time in his last five starts that the southpaw has pitched six or more impressive innings. From the third through the sixth inning, Carlos Rodon was particularly dominant, retiring 11 consecutive batters, with only two of those outs coming via strikeout—a fact he eagerly highlighted. Throughout his six-inning performance, the Twins managed to score just a single run against the formidable pitcher.

Carlos Rodon praised his teammates’ exceptional defensive efforts, acknowledging the challenging hits they successfully fielded. For him, the team’s success remains the top priority, and he strives to create opportunities for them to excel every time he takes the mound. The pitcher emphasized on his responsibility to consistently give his Yankees a fighting chance by keeping them competitive in each game, allowing his fellow players to showcase their skills and determination on the field.

“I’ve got to give it up to my teammates for really good defense out there today,” Carlos Rodon said. “There were some hard balls hit and they made a lot of plays, and we scored some runs and we won the game, and that’s what’s important. I just want to go out there and give our team a chance to win every night. Try to keep the team in the game and let the boys work.”

Carlos Rodon quickly finds groove, mows down Twins

Carlos Rodon’s start against the Twins had a rocky beginning, with Ryan Jeffers launching a leadoff home run on the second pitch of the game. The 414-foot blast, which Statcast projected to have left Jeffers’ bat at 107.4 mph, was his team-leading 10th of the season. Carlos Rodon then yielded a 109 mph line-drive single to Carlos Correa, contributing to three of the six hits he allowed coming in the first inning alone.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodón stands on the mound after a solo home run by Minnesota Twins’ Ryan Jeffers during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Minneapolis.
AP Photo/Abbie Parr

However, the left-hander quickly regained his composure and found his rhythm. After the initial setback, Carlos Rodon settled in and retired the next 11 batters in succession, showcasing his ability to bounce back and limit the damage. The Twins’ lone run in the first inning proved to be the only blemish on his otherwise stellar performance, as he kept the opposition at bay until surrendering a single to open the seventh inning.

Carlos Rodon, however, refused to let the early lead slip away. Following Correa’s single, he quickly recorded two outs before Manuel Margot managed a soft liner to right field for a base hit. This brought Carlos Santana to the plate, a formidable opponent who had homered in three consecutive games over the weekend and boasted an impressive .382 career batting average against Carlos Rodon.

Undeterred, the Yankees‘ southpaw rose to the challenge. He delivered a devastating slider that dove into the dirt, inducing Santana to swing and miss for one of Rodon’s six strikeouts on the night. This marked the third consecutive start in which Carlos Rodon did not issue a single walk, a feat he had accomplished twice before in his career but never as a member of the Yankees. His ability to command the strike zone and overpower hitters was on full display, as he confidently navigated through the Twins’ lineup.

Manager Aaron Boone emphasized the significance of forcing opponents to work for their runs, praising Carlos Rodon’s ability to avoid issuing walks. He pointed out that by eliminating free passes and leveraging his swing-and-miss arsenal, the pitcher could effectively handle scenarios where the other team generates hits and baserunners. Boone believes this strategy of making rivals earn their way on base, coupled with Carlos Rodon’s strikeout potential, greatly enhances the team’s chances of coming out on top in challenging situations.

“It’s big. You want to make them earn it,” Boone said. “If he can eliminate that, with some of the swing-and-miss stuff that he has, it allows you to work around some where they do square you up, where they do create traffic, and you’re not doing it by issuing free passes. It just sets you up for more success.”

Carlos Rodon’s change-up does the trick

New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodón delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Minneapolis.
AP Photo/Abbie Parr

Carlos Rodon’s changeup proved to be a potent weapon in his arsenal, despite only deploying it nine times throughout the game. The Twins’ lineup, stacked with nine right-handed or switch-hitters, struggled to contend with the pitch, swinging at it six times and whiffing on four occasions.

Two of Carlos Rodon’s strikeouts came courtesy of his changeup with runners on base, showcasing its effectiveness in high-pressure situations. The southpaw’s battery mate, Gleyber Torres, jokingly claimed responsibility for this strategic adjustment, revealing that during the team’s flight from Tampa the previous day, he had suggested Rodon utilize his changeup more frequently.

Facing a Twins lineup dominated by right-handed and switch-hitters, Carlos Rodon wisely heeded Torres’ advice. By incorporating a pitch that moved away from the hitters rather than inside, he kept the opposition off-balance and effectively neutralized their offensive threat.

Gleyber Torres playfully recounted his conversation with Carlos Rodon, encouraging the pitcher to trust his advice due to his own knowledge of the game, and expressing his delight in such collaborative moments between teammates.

“So I just tell him, ‘Believe me. I know a little bit about the game,’ ” Torres said with a laugh. “But that’s the type of moment we enjoy.”

Carlos Rodon, in turn, astutely observed that the Twins’ lineup relied heavily on a combination of fastballs and sliders. Recognizing the predominantly right-handed nature of their opponents, the southpaw and his catcher, Wells, strategically incorporated changeups into the mix. By executing these pitches effectively and inducing swings and misses, Carlos Rodon and Wells successfully navigated the challenging lineup.

Giancarlo Stanton lauded Carlos Rodon’s mental fortitude, emphasizing that the pitcher’s success hinged on the Yankees’ ability to shake off the early home run he surrendered to the first two batters. Stanton commended Carlos Rodon for remaining unfazed by the initial setback, regaining his composure, and delivering an impressive six-plus innings of work, a performance he deemed “awesome.”

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