Yankees’ offensive dud squanders Rodon’s most overpowering start yet in pinstripes

Yankees' Carlos Rodon is pitching against Oakland at Yankee Stadium on April 22, 2024.

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Despite Carlos Rodon putting his best so far in pinstripes, the Yankees bats go silent and the team suffered a frustrating 2-0 loss to the Oakland A’s on Monday.

Over seven scoreless innings, Rodon showcased his potential with a well-rounded arsenal of five pitches. While perhaps lacking the overpowering fastball velocity he might typically possess, the Yankees lefty effectively navigated the A’s lineup.

His diverse arsenal of pitches kept the A’s guessing, featuring a mix of 53 fastballs, 14 cutters, 13 sliders, 7 changeups, and 5 curves throughout his 92 pitches thrown.

Manager Aaron Boone acknowledged a slight dip in Rodon’s initial intensity compared to his prior start, but overall praised his execution and diverse pitch selection. Although the Yankees’ starter struck out only four batters and saw his velocity dip slightly, he managed to work around two walks and two hit batters.

The lone moment of significant danger came in the fourth inning when Rodon walked a batter and hit another, putting runners on first and second with no outs and facing the heart of the A’s order. However, the Yankees pitcher responded with a dominant stretch, retiring the next three batters in quick succession to maintain the scoreless tie.

However, it’s important to temper enthusiasm to some extent. The A’s lineup for this game against the Yankees featured several players recently called up from Triple-A, and their offensive struggles are well-documented; they currently rank below even the lowly White Sox in runs scored. Therefore, a definitive evaluation of Rodon’s outing remains a challenge.

Despite this caveat, Rodon’s performance offered positive signs. His ability to navigate a challenging situation and showcase a diverse arsenal offers hope that he can be a reliable contributor for the Yankees moving forward.

Jason Szenes / NYP

Rodon unveils new pitch in arsenal

Carlos Rodon’s outing against the A’s, though ending in a loss, offered several encouraging signs for the Yankees. Most notably, it marked his longest start as a Yankee, showcasing an evolving approach on the mound.

A key element of this evolution is the addition of a cutter to his repertoire. Rodon has incorporated this pitch into roughly 15% of his deliveries this season, including frequent use on Monday. Reflecting on his pitching strategy, the Yankees starter emphasized his desire to move beyond a fastball-slider reliance. He clarified that while not a complete overhaul, the cutter provides a valuable new weapon, rounding out his arsenal to five pitches.

This adjustment, including a decrease in slider usage, has yielded mixed results so far. However, Yankees manager Boone highlighted the cutter’s effectiveness in keeping hitters off-balance, preventing them from solely focusing on the fastball or slider.

Despite the loss, Rodon’s versatility and control were evident. He acknowledged the Yankees’ overall strong pitching performance. While walks have been an issue for Rodon this season, he showed improvement throughout Monday’s outing, particularly after a shaky start with control. His ability to rebound after hitting leadoff hitter Esteury Ruiz was impressive, picking him off first and retiring the next nine batters before facing trouble in the fourth.

While the A’s lineup may not be the strongest test, Rodon’s extended outing and his evolving approach offer optimism for the Yankees’ pitching staff moving forward. His willingness to adapt and add new weapons to his arsenal suggests he can become a reliable contributor to the team going forward.

Yankees bats waste Rodon’s Gem

A dominant pitching performance by Carlos Rodon went in vain as the Yankees fell 2-0 to the Athletics in a tightly contested affair.

Rodon delivered a masterful seven-inning outing, silencing the A’s bats and allowing only one hit. He flirted with a no-hitter until the second out of the fifth inning before ultimately surrendering the lone single of the game. Despite not recording a no-hitter, Rodon continued to dominate, striking out four batters while issuing just two walks.  

Matching Rodon pitch-for-pitch was former Yankee JP Sears, who countered with a stellar six-inning shutout of his own. Sears surrendered only three hits while striking out seven batters and allowing just one walk.

The Yankees’ lone scoring opportunity materialized in the fifth inning. Alex Verdugo drew a two-out walk, followed by a single from Jose Trevino. However, Oswaldo Cabrera‘s flyout to center field extinguished the rally, leaving the score deadlocked at 0-0.

A bizarre moment unfolded in the game’s very first inning when Yankees manager Aaron Boone received an ejection from home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. Wendelstedt mistakenly attributed heckling from a fan behind the first-base dugout to Boone, leading to the swift dismissal. Boone had previously questioned a hit-by-pitch call on the A’s leadoff hitter and received a warning before the ejection.

Following the unexpected ejection, Boone vented his frustration on the field for a brief moment before handing over managerial duties to bench coach Brad Ausmus. The Yankees, despite Rodon’s brilliance, were unable to overcome the pitching duel and Boone’s early ejection, ultimately falling short in a frustrating defeat.

Carlos Rodon, pitcher for the New York Yankees, winds up to deliver a pitch during the first inning of the game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium on April 22, 2024. The stadium is located in the Bronx, New York, USA
USA Sports Today

Just a day prior, Victor Gonzalez emerged as a hero in a thrilling victory over the Rays. A dazzling display of athleticism saw him snag a game-ending comebacker with a behind-the-back grab and a quick throw to first. However, Monday’s game against the Athletics painted a contrasting picture.

With the score tied in the ninth inning, Gonzalez entered the game aiming to preserve the shutout. Unfortunately, an infield single resulted when Gonzalez stumbled fielding a swinging bunt, leaving him out of position. The momentum shift continued as Zack Gelof blasted a two-run homer over the center field wall, dashing the Yankees’ hopes for victory.

Despite Gonzalez’s valiant effort, the A’s closer, Mason Miller, slammed the door shut. Miller’s blazing fastballs, reaching speeds of 103 mph, struck out Anthony Volpe, Juan Soto, and Aaron Judge in succession, securing the win for Oakland.

This defeat marked the fourth shutout loss for the Yankees in just 23 games. It also highlighted the emotional rollercoaster endured by players like Gonzalez, who can experience the pinnacle of celebration one day and the depths of disappointment the next. Such is the unpredictable nature of baseball, a game that constantly tests and challenges its participants.

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