Scott Carroll doesn’t give up — not after struggling through the minor leagues for eight seasons or rebounding from two surgeries along the way. Making his major league debut for the Chicago White Sox at the age of 29, Carroll silenced the Tampa Bay Rays with a dominant start, going 7.1 innings and giving up two runs, one earned, while walking two and striking out three.
Thanks to Carroll’s pitching and the offensive charge led by rookie Jose Abreu, the White Sox easily beat David Price and the Rays 9-2. The last White Sox pitcher to win his major league debut was Lucas Harrell, now a member of the Houston Astros, who beat the Oakland A’s on July 30, 2010.
DH-ing while Paul Konerko played first base, Abreu continued to cement his elite reputation, setting a new rookie record for RBIs in April while extending his own record for most home runs by a rookie in April. Abreu hit his tenth home run, a no-doubter to the left-field bleachers in the bottom of the sixth inning, and drove in four runs to bump his RBI total up to 31 with three days remaining in April. He also currently leads baseball in both categories.
Carroll’s chance to start came when the White Sox optioned Erik Johnson to Triple A Charlotte last night, citing Johnson’s recent command issues as the chief cause for his demotion. Johnson was 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA and 1.77 WHIP in five starts with the White Sox. The club’s rotation has been struggling badly recently, with the placement of both Felipe Paulino and ace Chris Sale on the DL along with poor performances by Johnson and one time call-up Charlie Leesman. After his strong debut, there’s hope that Carroll could be a breath of fresh air for the Chicago pitching staff and help ease the pain as the team reworks the rotational parts.
The White Sox and Rays play the finale of their four-game set tomorrow. Based on the first three games, game four could go in either team’s favor.