When Chicago White Sox second baseman Jose Rondon was called on to pitch the ninth inning of their 6-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Friday night, he didn't come armed with a blazing fastball or a wicked curveball.
Instead, he puzzled the reigning World Series champions with an array of eephus pitches that were so slow, they wouldn't get pulled over for speeding on the highway.
How slow you ask?
Some of the pitches didn't even register on the radar gun.
That's how slow.
Rondon befuddles Red Sox stars
Here’s the most amazing part.
The Red Sox couldn't score a run against the surprise White Sox hurler.
Granted, Boston did manage two hits and didn’t strike out against Rondon. That allowed them to maintain some degree of pride. But three of the team’s hottest hitters — MVP Mookie Betts, sizzling rookie Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers — were retired by Rondon.
Some of Rondon's pitches that did register were clocked at just under 60 mph.
This is what Jose Rondon's lollypop pitches look like, at least the 59 MPH ones that were tracked. (The others were too slow.)
It's 6-1, by the way. This is ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/H9lX4Vx5ua
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) May 4, 2019
Those that didn't, well, we'll just have to assume they were among the slowest pitches in MLB history.
All things considered, you can’t be too critical of the Red Sox. No team prepares their hitters to go from facing 90-mph fastballs to 50-mph eephus pitchers in the same game.
Why Rondon’s outing stands out
What once was rare has now become a far more common occurrence. Of course we’re talking about position players pitching in MLB games.
It’s almost to the point now where we expect it to happen at least once a day. Because of that, it's difficult for a position player that pitches to stand out unless they surprise us with 90-mph heat.
Well, Rondon's appearance managed to stand out for a couple reasons. First, because manager Rick Renteria used him in a game that was still relatively close. The White Sox only trailed by five runs entering the ninth inning. It's rare you'll see what amounts to a "white flag" pitching move in a game that close. The White Sox bullpen must have been taxed.
The other reason, of course, was Rondon's pitching itself. He left the ballpark with a perfect ERA.
Who knows, maybe the White Sox have found another weapon.
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