Carlos Rodón scolding Ben Rice set horrific tone for Yankees' drama-filled loss

New York Yankees v San Diego Padres
New York Yankees v San Diego Padres / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

After a season that could only be generously described as positively as "up-and-down" by a caring best friend, Carlos Rodón's 2023 campaign ended with a tour-de-force of frustration. He toed the rubber in Kansas City for a game in which the Yankees were already eliminated from the postseason, just trying to end a trying year on a high note. Instead, he failed to retire a batter before exiting in the bottom of the first inning, barraged and besieged by endless hard-hit balls. Tellingly, when pitching coach Matt Blake came to the mound to counsel his high-priced lefty, Rodón turned his back on the instruction. That became the defining image of his troubled year.

2024 began much better, all the way through mid-June. Despite a few regression metrics that indicated Rodón might eventually have to navigate some choppier seas, there was no indication that he'd fully revert back to 2023 form on a dime. Somehow, because the Yankees are in the midst of a two-week-and-counting Murphy's Law, that's exactly what has happened; Rodón's ensconced in a three-start stretch where he sports a 13.17 ERA.

Thursday's outing was the worst yet, and it included a healthy dose of the doldrums that made Yankee fans fall in hate with Rodón last summer. After allowing a leadoff single and hitting Isiah Kiner-Falefa on the back foot with a two-strike slider, Rodón was beaten by a broken-bat Vlad Guerrero Jr. double. He then induced a roller up along the first base line, which rookie Ben Rice foolishly allowed to roll until it struck the bag. This was the last straw for Rodón; cameras found him aggressively telling Rice from afar what he should've done with the live ball.

The George Springer home run that followed the Rice brainlock/Rodón tantrum felt fated before the fastball even left the lefty's hand.

Yankees' Carlos Rodón took out his anger on Ben Rice

After racing to the bag to record an out midway through the (really, it was still the first?!) first, Rodón's ball toss to Rice after an impressive snag could've been construed as dismissive. In the context of the inning, where he'd already barked in the rookie's direction once for his decision to let a ball roll, it certainly seemed like a 2023 reversion, where the left-hander had decided that anyone but him was responsible for his misery.

Rodón, to his credit, stayed in and absorbed five innings, striking out eight along the way. It was the absolute least he could do, and he now owes his whole swath of teammates an apology for refusing to pivot off his suddenly hittable fastball in three consecutive, equally disastrous starts.

He also owes one particular teammate a longer apology for losing his cool unnecessarily and projecting internal anger outwards. Rodón, more than anyone else, should know what it's like to feel lonely on a baseball field. He showed those exact emotions after his recent loss to the Braves. There's no excuse for making someone else feel small, just six days after you received your own sympathy.