(670 The Score) With the White Sox licking their wounds as they’ve squandered the AL Central lead with a five-game losing streak, manager Rick Renteria was left to defend his bullpen management decisions in the team’s latest disturbing setback.
A bullpen that has been a strength for the White Sox coughed up a 4-1 lead by allowing four runs to the Indians in the bottom of the seventh of an eventual 5-4 loss Thursday evening. After reliever Jimmy Cordero allowed the bases to get loaded while recording two outs, Renteria tabbed left-hander Carlos Rodon to get a pivotal out. Rodon had just been activated from the injured list earlier in the day and hadn’t pitched in a game since early August due to shoulder soreness.
Rodon allowed a two-run single to Cesar Hernandez and the game-deciding two-run double to Jose Ramirez. The lead, the game and the White Sox’s ability to control their own destiny in the AL Central were all lost. The White Sox now trail the Twins by one game in the division with three to play.
Afterward, Renteria was peppered with questions about why he used Rodon instead of lefty Aaron Bummer, who had also been activated earlier in the day after a stint on the injured list with a biceps issue. Bummer had a terrific 2019 and had a 1.23 ERA this season before getting injured. Rodon hadn’t made a relief appearance since 2015.
Bummer did end up throwing a scoreless eighth inning for the White Sox.
"We were going to use both of them at some point,” Renteria said. “That didn't work out. We wanted Bummer for a complete inning. We didn't want him out there for one out and send him back out in the next inning. It was one out we were trying to get. It didn't work. We were just not going to do that with Bum. The best-laid plans, you know. If people want to put it on me, put it on me. Everyone wants to put it on me again, put it on me. I wanted to have Rodon get that one out there. I did not anticipate something negative. At least Bum was able to get out there, face a good lineup and do his job.”
Two of Renteria’s go-to relievers – Matt Foster and Codi Heuer – weren’t available Thursday due to a heavy workload recently.
“My expectations did not turn out to what we wanted it to be,” Renteria said. “As we move forward, hopefully this is something we can take and use with our guys. And they need to stay positive, obviously.”
Rodon refused to let his Renteria take the heat.
“There were nine guys down in that bullpen that wanted the ball at that point,” Rodon said. “I am the one who threw the pitch, not Ricky.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.