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May 19, 2024 2:56 am

Streaking Yankees look to remain on roll vs. White Sox

Rodon Yankees

Left-hander Carlos Rodon has a pretty simple strategy when he takes the mound Sunday afternoon as the New York Yankees try to complete a three-game series sweep over the visiting Chicago White Sox.

“I just want to go out there and give our team a chance to win every night,” Rodon told the New York Post after his last start on Tuesday, a 5-1 win over the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis. “Try to keep the team in the game and let the boys work. These guys are pretty good.”

Rodon isn’t kidding.

The American League East leaders have won a season-high six games in a row as well as a league-high 32 games. Their 6-1 win over the White Sox on Saturday afternoon clinched their 12th series win in 15 series to begin the season, the sixth time in franchise history that’s happened.

The Yankees belted four more home runs Saturday, including a pair by Juan Soto, to increase their major-league-leading total to 66, tied with the Baltimore Orioles. New York is the only team in the big leagues with three players with 10 or more homers in Aaron Judge (12), Giancarlo Stanton (11) and Soto (11).

As for the pitching, Yankees starters have compiled a 0.46 ERA over their last six games highlighted by rookie Luis Gil’s 14-strikeout effort over six innings on Saturday, breaking the team rookie record of 13 set by Orlando Hernandez against the Texas Rangers on Aug. 13, 1998. Coincidentally, El Duque threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.

“As good as his fastball has been all season, today felt maybe like his best one, just pouring it in there with his secondary staff,” New York manager Aaron Boone said.

Rodon (4-2, 3.31 ERA) will be facing Chicago for the first time in his career. The White Sox made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft out of North Carolina State. He spent seven injury-plagued seasons (2015-21) pitching for Chicago and made one All-Star appearance while also tossing a no-hitter against Cleveland on April 14, 2021.

Right-hander Chris Flexen (2-3, 4.46), who is 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA in four starts since joining the starting rotation, will start for the White Sox. Flexen is 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA in three career games (one start) against the Yankees.

Chicago had Gil on the ropes in the first inning of Saturday’s loss, jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a bloop double over third base by Andrew Benintendi that drove in Tommy Pham, who had singled to open the game and advanced to second on a single by Gavin Sheets. Paul DeJong then walked to load the bases but Gil, who threw 29 pitches in the inning, got out of the jam by striking out catcher Korey Lee.

“That was a crucial inning for us because we needed to put a crooked number on the board there,” Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said. “We have to do a better job of putting the ball in play.”

Chicago batters struck out 16 times in the loss, including seven times in a row between the fourth and sixth innings.

Soto, who entered Saturday in a 4-for-31 drought, finished 4-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs and to go with his two homers. It was the 18th multi-homer game of his career and first with the Yankees and marked the 11th time in his career he reached base five or more times in a game. Stanton and Jose Trevino also homered for New York.

“You’ve got to keep the ball in the yard,” said White Sox starter Brad Keller, who gave up a career-high four homers. “That goes anywhere in baseball. Fortunately, they were solos, but obviously no one ever wants to give up homers, let alone four in a game.”

–Field Level Media

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