At the time, he had thrown just 3.2 innings across four appearances, giving up the most runs of any pitcher on the Cubs. In fact, in his most recent outing, he had given up five earned runs on seven hits in just 2/3 of an inning.
Rough start, indeed.
But, like Carrie Muskat, Joe Maddon, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon, himself, I wasn’t worried and preached patience with Rondon, especially in the Spring.
The most important angle to keep in mind is that Rondon is healthy, his stuff looks good, and his velocity is right where it’s supposed to be. According to Rondon, he was throwing 94-96 MPH last week, and has plans to crank it up to 97 MPH before the end of the Spring. He isn’t worried at all.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything is 100% perfect right now. His command has been a little off, and he went to the video room with set-up man Pedro Strop to see if he was tipping any pitches. Luckily, the two felt that he was not tipping his pitches and that the command would come around as he continues to warm up. Well, as luck would have it, they were correct on both.
Now, to be certain, you can’t glean too much information from one overwhelmingly positive outing in the same exact way you should avoid doing so for bad outings. That said, an appearance like this serves to remind us why we shouldn’t overreact to a slow start (Spring Training or otherwise) over a small sample. It’s quite possible that, even if he was doing everything right and looked healthy and strong in the process, that unexpected variance can throw off even the best of play.
Although, I can understand why Cub fans are particularly rattle-able about their closers in the spring. We’ve been bit by this very thing before. If you recall, Jose Veras and Carlos Marmol both started struggling in the Spring after excellent seasons, but never truly regained their form. In fact, they got downright worse.
The only important thing right now is how he feels and how he looks, and, from Maddon to Strop to Rondon (to us here at Bleacher Nation), all agree he looks healthy and ready to go for the season.
Picture via @MBDChicago.