CHICAGO, Ill. — The Indians scored four runs before Mike Pelfrey recorded an out in the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field, and that was far from the most alarming thing to happen to the White Sox early Thursday night.
About 15 minutes before the first pitch of the Sox's 11-2 loss to the Indians, the Sox announced Pelfrey would start because left-hander Carlos Rodon had been scratched with left shoulder stiffness.
Any pitcher's shoulder issue would be of note, but Rodon's scratch draws attention because of his long early-season absence due to left biceps bursitis, essentially in his shoulder. Rodon missed much of spring training and didn't make his first start of the year until June 28.
Rodon was around the Sox clubhouse Thursday afternoon, appearing to prepare for his start as usual.
The third-year starter is viewed by some as the possible future ace of a contending Sox rotation, and he had found a groove over his last seven starts, when he posted a 3.00 ERA with 13 walks and 45 strikeouts over 45 innings. He had one rough start — allowing five earned runs in five innings against the Tigers on Aug. 26 — and his last start against the Rays on Saturday was shortened by rain.
Just a day earlier, Sox manager Rick Renteria said Rodon would have a shot to be the leader of a rotation that could include any from the group of Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Carson Fulmer, Alec Hansen, Dylan Cease or Dane Dunning.
"He has been around, has some pretty good stuff to show on the mound," Renteria said. "He's going to be the senior of these guys moving forward, so it's almost by default, but hopefully it's also by example, by the way he goes about his business every time he gets the baseball, and hopefully these guys follow suit."
Having Pelfrey start on short notice against an Indians team on a franchise-record-tying 14-game winning streak didn't go well.
Edwin Encarnacion's three-run homer capped the Indians' four-run first, and Francisco Lindor and Erik Gonzalez also homered off Pelfrey as the Indians led 7-2 through three innings.
Yolmer Sanchez and Jose Abreu homered off Indians ace Corey Kluber in the first inning, but Kluber allowed just one more hit, walked none and struck out 13 through six innings.
Sox reliever Chris Beck gave up one earned run over 2 2/3 innings, and Jace Fry surrendered a two-run homer to Greg Allen. Catcher Rob Brantly became the first Sox position player to pitch this year. He gave up one hit in the ninth inning — Gonzalez's second homer of the game.
The Sox were facing a team on a 14-game winning streak for just the second time in franchise history. They snapped the Yankees' streak at 14 with a 7-1 victory in 1941, according to Stats, LLC.
Renteria said before the game that the rebuilding Sox use the Indians as an example from which to draw.
"We use the clubs that are having success and doing it a certain way as barometers," Renteria said. "They have seen this club build from within, put themselves in a position over the last few years to continue to compete for a postseason position and to go to the World Series. Why wouldn't you want to look at clubs that are doing it ... and aspire to have your players attain those feats?
"We talk about it a lot, because unless you talk about it, how can you attain anything?"
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