On Tuesday night at Sox Park, Lucas Giolito and Cleveland’s Shane Bieber put on a master class in pitching in the big leagues, with the two combining for 16 scoreless innings between the two starters, and they only allowed three hits each. Bieber struck out 11 Sox hitters over 9 innings, while Giolito fanned eight Cleveland batters. In a word, it was masterful.
What, then, could top such pitching excellence Wednesday night? Well, Carlos Rodon did both of those aces one better, throwing the 20th no-hitter in Chicago White Sox franchise history Wednesday night at Sox Park.
Rodon came into this outing coming off a very strong start in Seattle, throwing five shutout innings against the Mariners, and only allowing two hits and three walks, while fanning 9. He built off that Wednesday night against Cleveland, tossing not only his first no-hitter, but his first complete game in the majors. Rodon was slated to start on Monday, but that got pushed back to Wednesday due to a stomach bug. It all set up Rodon for an historic night on the South Side.
It was also very nearly perfect. With one out in the 9th, a slider got away from Rodon and hit Roberto Perez in the foot. He didn’t make too much of an effort to get out of the way, and afterward he said he didn’t realize that Rodon had a perfect game going until afterwards. But Rodon and catcher Zack Collins refocused, and got the no-hitter.
For Collins, he tied a record for fifth-fewest games caught before catching a no-hitter. Two high draft picks (Rodon, 3rd overall in 2014, Collins 10th overall in 2016) linked up for the 20th no-no in franchise history, which is the 2nd most in the majors, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have 23. Collins had never caught a no-hitter at any level before Wednesday night, and for him it was a special night as well.
For Rodon, it’s also a story in perseverance, who battled through surgeries on his shoulder and elbow, the latter being Tommy John surgery. He was also non-tendered by the Sox before the 2021 season and he ended up signing back with the Sox on a one-year deal for $3 million, knowing he had something to prove. He is certainly pitching like someone with something to prove in the early part of the year, and if he keeps this up, it will make the Sox starting rotation one of the strongest in all of baseball. He became the first pitcher to toss a no-hitter within 2 years of having Tommy John surgery.
It’s the second no-hitter in as many seasons for the White Sox, after Giolito’s gem last season against the Pirates. It’s also the second no-no for the White Sox in their franchise history on April 14th. Eddie Cicotte tossed a no-hitter against the St. Louis Browns on April 14, 1917, which was the fifth no-hitter in the history of the White Sox franchise. They would go on to win the 1917 World Series.
Beyond Rodon’s no-no, plenty of other good things happened. The Sox offense jumped all over Cleveland starter Zach Plesac, who had entered the game with an ERA under 2. The Sox took care of that in the first inning, putting up a 6-spot, highlighted by another mammoth Yermin Mercedes 3-run home run. Luis Robert went 2-for-5, with an RBI double and Yoan Moncada drove in a couple runs as well. This night was obviously all about Rodon, but this could be a night to build off of for the Sox offense.
Thursday, the Sox will close out their four-game set with Cleveland before heading off to Boston for a four-game set. Lance Lynn will try to repeat his last performance, a complete-game shutout against the Royals against Cleveland on getaway day.
Wonder if he’ll be able to top what Rodon and Giolito authored the previous two nights…