Not only are the New York Yankees looking to rebound from one of their worst showings of the season, they do so while anticipating what Carlos Rodon’s debut will be like.
After injuries delayed Rodon’s first season with the Yankees by a little over three months, the left-hander will pitch for the first time with New York when the club hosts the Chicago Cubs in the opener of a three-game series on Friday.
“It’s good to finally check that off the list and finally get to work now and pitch at Yankee Stadium,” Rodon said Monday. “I had quite a few setbacks but this part (of the rehab) was clean. I just want to pitch whenever my name is called.”
Rodon takes the mound after the Yankees absorbed a 14-1 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles and settled for a split of the four-game series on Thursday. The Yankees allowed a seven-run third inning and 20 hits to match their largest margin of defeat this year.
Rodon joined the Yankees on a six-year, $162 million contract after going 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA in 31 starts for the San Francisco Giants last season. The sixth-place finisher in the National League Cy Young Award voting, Rodon was considered the top pitcher in free agency and the Yankees signed him shortly after retaining captain Aaron Judge.
Rodon strained his forearm in spring training and then compounded the initial injury with back issues. After three rehab starts, the Yankees cleared Rodon for his season debut to give them a second lefty along with Nestor Cortes, currently on the injured list (shoulder).
“He looks really good to me, he looks ready to me,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Thursday afternoon. “I think he’s in that place too. I definitely sense from him the last couple of times he’s ready to go. Now it’s just getting built up. So I’m excited to get him back in play tomorrow.”
Rodon is making his fifth career start at Yankee Stadium. With the Chicago White Sox, he was 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA facing the Yankees on the road.
Rodon also is 2-3 with a 3.45 ERA in seven career appearances (six starts) against the Cubs, who were swept in a three-game set in New York last season.
Chicago is 3-8 over its past 11 games since a 9-1 win over St. Louis in London on June 24 moved them to within one game of .500. The Cubs were unable to complete a three-game sweep in Milwaukee when they took a 6-5 loss on Thursday.
Cody Bellinger was 4-for-4 with three RBIs and finished a triple shy of the cycle in the loss. He is hitting .467 (21-for-45) during a 12-game hitting streak and .360 (23-for-64) since returning from a knee injury June 15.
“It’s a big one in New York,” Bellinger said after the series finale with the Brewers. “I still feel pretty good. The series could have gone either way for all of those games. Coming out with a split (was) not great, not terrible.”
The Cubs were without Dansby Swanson on Thursday. The shortstop is day-to-day with a bruised left heel he sustained on Wednesday.
Jameson Taillon (2-6, 6.93 ERA), who was 22-11 with a 4.08 ERA in 61 starts over the previous two seasons with the Yankees, opens the series for the Cubs.
Since getting his second win this season on June 13, Taillon is 0-2 with a 7.63 ERA over his past three outings. Most recently, he allowed six runs in five innings in a no-decision Sunday against Cleveland.
Taillon’s only previous start against the Yankees was a no-decision while he was with Pittsburgh, when he allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings on April 22, 2017.