The thing about baseball is sometimes pitchers get promoted from Triple-A buzzing with all the anxiety of a thousand bees, barely able to harness their stuff or translate it to game speed.
Even those pitchers record an out or two by accident. Unfortunately, Carlos Rodón, in his ninth year in baseball and first with the Yankees, couldn't manage that on Friday evening in Kansas City.
Rodón took a long time to find any form of rhythm in his first season with the Yankees, but in recent weeks, he'd found his footing somewhat. A brutal start against the Tigers at home led to him varying his pitch mix, which somehow also led to him powering up to the upper 90s with his fastball in a dominant road start in Pittsburgh.
His numbers were still ghastly entering his final start of the season in Kansas City, but the 5.74 season ERA belied 64 Ks in 64 innings, fewer hits than innings pitched, and a similar pitch quality to his 2022 season, per all available metrics. Then he allowed two hits, a walk, and a homer to the first four Royals he faced, immediately crafting a 4-0 hole.
Then it got worse.
Yankees starter Carlos Rodón ends season with biggest stinker of career vs Royals
There have been tough starts before. There have never been starts quite this tough. It's impossible for a start to be tougher. Even Chase Wright at Fenway recorded a few outs along the way.
Rodón walked the final batter he faced before giving way to reliever Matt Bowman. Bowman immediately surrendered a two-run double, then an RBI single. Every member of the Royals lineup reached base before an out was recorded. Rodón faced eight batters and ultimately allowed eight runs. Corner turned. Cool.
With his line officially closed, that raises his season ERA from 5.74 to 6.85 in a single outing. There's a long way to go before Rodón is officially the worst signing in Yankees history, but Friday's outing certainly rocketed him closer to that vaunted title.
There might be an explanation for Friday's disaster wrapped in an enigma, deep fried in a quandary. You're not going to like it, though.
Yup. In a start Rodón didn't need to make, he displayed clear signs of potential injury, which further marred his already horrendous season.
Make it stop. Two days ahead of time. Make it all stop. And when you're doing your offseason audits, make sure not to skip Game 160, where the lowly Royals had the easiest time of their baseball lives hitting your $162 million man.