Yankees 7, White Sox 2: Sweepin’ the Sox for seven straight

The Yanks made a statement by sweeping their second series in a row against an AL Central team.

Looking at the Yankees’ calendar over the last four weeks, you could only circle this series against the White Sox as one you would expect the Bombers to sweep. It seemed like the Yankees’ sleepy start to the contest might jeopardize that golden opportunity; however, both Carlos Rodón and the Bombers bats locked in by the fourth. The ball seemed to be really traveling through the warm Bronx air, as home runs by Aaron Judge and Jon Berti extended the Yankees’ MLB lead to 68 and helped polish off the team’s second-straight sweep, 7-2. New York kept pace with Baltimore and leads the American League with a 33-15 record.

Rodón took a little while to find his command and the White Sox punished his mistakes in the second. Corey Julks opened the scoring with a one-out solo shot to left and it wasn’t the only time the left fielder would make his impact on the score, robbing Jose Trevino of a would-be solo shot to almost exactly the same spot later on in the sixth. Rodón then walked Korey Lee before giving up a deep fly ball to Zach Remillard. The ball sailed over Alex Verdugo’s head and took a huge bounce off the wall and over Judge’s head for what wound up as an RBI triple. Rodón got out of the inning when Trevino picked off Remillard at third, but the Yankees faced an early 2-0 deficit.

That wouldn’t last long. The bottom of the order responded immediately in the bottom half of the frame. Anthony Rizzo singled and Gleyber Torres doubled to put runners on second and third with one out. Trevino, a career-.320 hitter with the Yankees with runners in scoring position, delivered much as he has over the last month, lining a single to right to bring both runners home and tie the score at two apiece.

It seemed like the lineup’s immediate response to going down early provided the jolt to allow Rodón to settle into his outing because he was nails from the third inning onward. The first two runners reached in the second on a single and hit by pitch, but Rodón struck out Julks swinging over a changeup, Lee late on a fastball, and froze Remillard looking on a slider to strand the pair.

The bottom of the Yankees’ order delivered again in the fourth, Rizzo and Torres singling back-to-back with one out to set up Jon Berti’s first home run in pinstripes, a three-run opposite field shot.

They kept it rolling in the fifth, Juan Soto drawing a leadoff walk to set up Judge’s 13th home run of the season, two off MLB leaders Gunnar Henderson and Kyle Tucker. It seemed like the ball had a little extra carry this Sunday afternoon as all three long balls appeared to just miss the barrel of the bat, yet still scraped over the wall.

With a 7-2 lead and the pitch count at just 89, Rodón had a clear lane for the sixth. His stuff improved with each successive inning, which allowed him to attack the zone with confidence in his final frame. He struck out Paul DeJong swinging on a 95-mph fastball, and after a two-out single to Julks, he glanced toward Boone in the dugout as if to say “this is my inning” and proceeded to empty the tank against Lee, pouring three fastballs at 98, 98, and 97 beyond the helpless DH.

The changeup had been a real weapon for Rodón in his previous two starts and that continued today with 78-percent whiff rate on nine swings. However, this was arguably the best fastball we’ve seen all season from Rodón and he racked up a healthy 35-percent whiff rate on 26 swings. In fact, his 23 total swings and misses was a season high and the most as a Yankee. Rodón finished his day giving up two runs on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts on 99 pitches, lowering his season ERA to 3.27 and giving him his fifth quality start in his last six appearances.

Below are the whiffs, followed by the strikeouts.

The game drew to a swift close after that, Boone hoping Michael Tonkin could spare the rest of the bullpen by finishing the final three innings. He completed most of his assignment, pitching 2.1 scoreless on 48 pitches but allowing the first two in the ninth to reach, necessitating Boone to go to Clay Holmes for the final two outs. He needed just four pitches to complete the dusting.

The Yankees have now swept back-to-back series and have captured seven straight, dating back to the series finale against Tampa Bay a week ago. They’ll face a tougher test than the White Sox beginning tomorrow night at the Stadium as they aim for crazy eights with the pitching-happy Mariners in the Bronx. Marcus Stroman is set to face Logan Gilbert with the night game scheduled to begin at 7:05pm ET.

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