Carlos Rodon hoping 1st Yankees win can provide springboard for rest of 2023

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Carlos Rodon Yankees
Carlos Rodon (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

BRONX — Perhaps the old notion of “better late than never” applies here, but Yankees starter Carlos Rodon is taking his first win with his new team with a tinge of exasperation.

“I would have taken it about three starts ago,” the southpaw said after his performance in the Yankees’ 3-1 victory over the Mets on Wednesday night. “But I guess it’s nice to have it now and get it out of the way, build off this start, and see where we can go from there.”

The 30-year-old signed a six-year, $162 million pact to join the Bronx Bombers over the winter as the franchise’s marquee signing and clear No. 2 behind Gerrit Cole. But injury issues that held him out for the first half of the season was just the sour appetizer of a miserable first three starts. 

He gave up two runs on four hits in his debut against the Chicago Cubs. A loss.

He gave up four runs on four hits in his next outing in Colorado against the Rockies. Another loss.

He gave up six runs on four hits with five walks in Los Angeles against the Angels. A third loss, which also featured a blown kiss to a jeering Yankees fan behind the dugout as he walked off in the second inning of what was already a 4-0 game.

“I suck in this moment,” Rodon said leading up to his fourth start. “I do. I know that. So what do I need to do to suck less? That’s kind of what this week has been about.”

Carlos Rodon Yankees
New York Yankees’ Carlos Rodon celebrates after striking out New York Mets’ Pete Alonso during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 26, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Wednesday in the Bronx against the Mets — in what was increasingly becoming must-win territory after a 9-3 Subway Series opener loss the night before with the Yankees fighting to get out of last place in the American League East and stay in the hunt for the final AL Wild Card spot — the All-Star version of Rodon who earned that big payday finally emerged. 

He went 5.2 innings, allowing just one run on those familiar four hits while working around three walks with four strikeouts to get that elusive first win in Yankee Pinstripes.

“It’s good to get that first one out of the way,” Rodon said. “It’s something I want to build off. I wouldn’t say exhale. It was coming. It was something I wanted to happen three starts ago not now but a win’s a win and I’ll take it.”

His slider was his great equalizer, which is what he utilized to pick up three of his four punchouts including a whiff of Mets slugger Pete Alonso to end the fifth inning and get out of a two-on, one-out jam.

“I just started to find the zone with it late,” Rodon said. “I got some good swings and misses in the fifth there to get out of a jam.”
And with it came that same showing of emotion that he leaked to that jeering Yankees fan in Los Angeles. This time, though, it was a roar of delight as he sauntered off the mound into the dugout.
“It was nice to hear the fans happy with the performance,” he said. “Just glad I got something to build off of.”

For more on the Yankees and Carlos Rodon, visit AMNY.com