It’s the MLB Game Day Recap Day 14, that means it’s time to talk about another no hitter. Just two weeks into the season, we have already had multiple elite pitching performances. Tonight, just like in Joe Musgrove’s no-no, Carlos Rodon’s no hitter was another feel good story. He barely made the White Sox out of Spring Training. There was a legitimate chance that had Rodon struggled in his first start, there would not be a second start. Instead, Rodon made history. It would be remiss to not mention the excellent defense that supported Carlos in the 9th, fully reminiscent of Dewayne Wise some 8 years ago. The similarities to the Musgrove no-no continue, as Rodon’s only baserunner to reach was also on a hit by pitch [a back foot slider that hit Roberto Perez’ back foot]. These moments are great, except when you’re a Cleveland fan and it’s your wedding anniversary. Even then, it’s still pretty cool.
Carlos Rodon was non-tendered this past offseason. His combined stat line for 2019-2020 was absolute junk. 11 games, 5.74 ERA, 1.465 WHIP, and a 80 ERA+. The only redeeming stat was 52 K’s in 42.2 innings. Heading into 2021, Rodon’s future looked to be in the bullpen. After all, the last time he had a James Shields Award was 2018. Instead, Carlos built his arm strength back up and won the 5th starter job out of Spring Training. He pitched 5.0 scoreless in his season debut and picked up the win against Seattle. The draft pedigree is there [3rd overall pick in 2014]. The former strong and consistent performance is there [4 straight seasons of 100-105 ERA+ from 2015-2018]. There’s a real possibility that at age 29 we are seeing the true breakout of Carlos Rodon.
Zach Plesac was the starter on the opposite side of the no hitter tonight. While Rodon had the best start of his career, Plesac had the worst of his. 6 earned on 7 hits over 0.2 innings is a classic Head-to-Head blowup. There were many fantasy pundits who were down on Zach since basically all the advances stats suggested strong regression. He was solid in his first start [6.0 innings, 3 earned] and excellent in his second [7.0 innings, 0 earned] so this looks more like a great offense getting to a guy who just didn’t have it, as opposed to a ‘sell me immediately’ start. Still, it ruins the ratios of anyone who started him this week.
Since Opening Day, Bo Bichette has gotten a hit in every game. Tonight, he launched two dingers against the Yankees in a 5-4 win. Despite having just turned 23 and a career OPS+ of 138 over 2 seasons he’s been hidden behind Fernando Tatis Jr. who is marginally better and marginally younger. Just like Tatis Jr., Bichette is also tied to an elite offense and hits like crazy. Unlike Tatis Jr., he’s not injured and currently a Top 3 SS on the field.
Miguel Sano went 0 for 1 tonight as a pinch hitter for JT Riddle late in the game. He’s now 3 for 36 on the year with 1 extra base hit. Sure, he’s 28 and in a slump, but is it really even a slump? Sano has turned into the heir to Pedro Alvarez’s throne. He can’t do anything other than hit homers. That sounds okay, but I mean literally cannot do anything other than hit homers. He can’t hit singles. No doubles. Absolutely no triples. The defense is awful. At a certain point, a player lapses into useless territory when they are this one dimensional. Sano needs to figure out how to make contact, otherwise he’s going to find himself pinch hitting more and more. For your fantasy team, he belongs on the waiver wire. There’s no reason to roster him until he fixes himself, which might be never.
The Emilio Bonifacio Award
Jazz Chisholm went 2 or 4 with a 3-run dinger, 1 walk and 1 stolen base tonight in the Marlins 6-5 win over the Braves. This is an absolute classic Bonifacio for the 2B and SS eligible Chisholm. The classic hallmarks are all there. Big homer with runners on base? Check. Stolen base? Check. Additional hit to help the average? Check. Chisholm is going to be this type of players for years to come, and this will be the first of many Bonifacio’s on his mantle.
The James Shields Award
Carlos Rodon and Zack Wheeler were the only starters to go 6+ tonight. We already discussed Rodon in detail, so let’s talk Wheeler. He had a very mediocre start despite the length, as he gave up 10 hits, 1 walk and 3 runs over 6.1 innings while striking out 6 in a loss to the Mets. This is the second straight forgettable start for Wheeler after he was unhittable in his first start. This is exactly what Zack Wheeler is. He can give you length, he can show some promise to be elite, but ultimately fall short. He’s the kind of pitcher you want in a Head-to-Head league as your 3 or 4 as he’ll give you the length you need if you aren’t going to stream. He’s very solid, not great, not excellent, but rosterable.
The Brad Lidge Award
Chad Green gives us our first INF ERA reliever getting a Brad Lidge this season. Green came in for the bottom of the 9th against Toronto and immediately gave up the walk off homer to Bo Bichette. Chad has been an elite cog in the Yankees bullpen for what seems like half a decade, and this should just be a blip in what otherwise will be another very good season. Sometimes there aren’t any big multi-run blows ups, and the Lidge goes to the guy who gives it up quick.
The MLB Game Day Recap is all about baseball. No hitters are just so pure that they are everything that is right in baseball. Watching one start to finish is so good. There is no comparison in any other sport where a player being so dominant on defense gives the viewer such satisfaction. The entertainment of a no-hitter far outweighs a 4 homer game or the cycle. Baseball is good when there’s a no hitter weekly. I have no idea when the next one will happen, but I can’t wait.