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Yankees fans optimistic ahead of Rodón's season debut

Friday night Yankees fans will finally get their first taste of Carlos Rodón in pinstripes as he makes his long-awaited 2023 debut. Hosting the sub .500 Cubs, Rodón can expect a large home crowd as Yankee Stadium holds Luis Severino Bobblehead Night, where the first 18,000 guests will walk away with a free Luis Severino bobblehead.

After missing the first half of this season with a back injury, Rodón will make his first major league start since September 29, 2022, in which he threw six scoreless innings with ten strikeouts and no walks for the win. 

The Yankees signed Rodón as a free agent during the 2022 offseason to a 6-year/$162 million contract for an average annual salary (AAS) of $27 million. Intended to fill the second rotation spot behind ace Gerrit Cole, a forearm strain during spring training bloomed into a back injury that landed Rodón on the injured list before Opening Day. In lieu of Rodón, habitual bullpen relievers Clarke Schmidt and Domingo German have been on the mound. With ups and downs throughout the early going of the season, including MLB’s 24th perfect game being thrown by Germán last week, the Yankees are breathing a huge sigh of relief at Rodón’s return.

Rodón finished his 2022 season with the San Francisco Giants, and threw to a 2.88 ERA with 14 wins and 237 strikeouts. His 237 strikeouts last season ranked third in the major leagues, behind only Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes and the Yanks’ own Gerrit Cole. 

For a career, Rodón has a 3.60 ERA and 947 strikeouts in 8 incomplete seasons. In 2021 he threw a 114 pitch no-hitter against the then-Cleveland Indians with the White Sox.

The undisputed prickliest thorn in the Yankees side this season, aside from the obvious injuries, has been its offense. With a team batting average of .232 (27th overall) the Yankees average around four runs per game. While the Bronx bullpen has the lowest ERA in the game, they need run support to put together a winning coalition. 

This will be especially true going forward, as the usually reliable right hander Michael King has proven flawed in his most recent relief appearances, which coupled with reliever Jimmy Cordero’s remainder-of-the-season suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy takes the lethality of the Yankees’ bullpen down a couple notches. Fans hope that Rodón can return to the major leagues with the dominant innings he put up with the Giants last season.

Rodón sports a 3.45 career ERA against the Chicago Cubs, but in his last outing against the Cubs in September of last year he took the loss in 5.1 innings at Wrigley Field after a two run home run off the bat of catcher Yan Gomes. However, history is on Rodón’s side, as the Cubs have never won a game against the home team at Yankee Stadium in one hundred plus years of play. Not in the regular season or the World Series, in which the two met in 1932 and 1938. The Yankees swept the Cubs in each. New York has a dominant dossier against the Cubs, sporting a 23-4 (.852) lifetime record against.

Babe Ruth and Lou Gherig deal bows Chicago in the 1932 World Series. Source: Mobile Press Register.


The revival of the storied matchup of the Cubs and the Yankees certainly gives history buffs something to be excited about; Game 3 of the 1932 World Series between the hosting Cubs and visiting Yanks featured Babe Ruth’s famous called shot, in which he pointed to the flagpole in Wrigley’s centerfield, took strike two, pointed there again, and then smacked a long home run directly at to give New York the game lead. The Yankees went on to win Game 4 the next day, thus completing the fifth World Series sweep in history and the third of the Yankees’ eight total.

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