Carson Fulmer gains most from White Sox’ big day

Control problems flare up again, but it doesn't derail his start this time

If it seems like we’ve spent a lot of time talking about Carson Fulmer, it’s because there really aren’t any other positional battles to consider.

Sure, there may be a couple of open spots in the bullpen, but that game of musical chairs concerns non-roster invitees and Aaron Bummer, and we can’t really say much about them besides their small-sample results. On the position-player side, the three most vulnerable players all have had great springs.

  • Adam Engel: .317/.391/.659; 4 BB, 10 K over 46 PA
  • Matt Davidson: .358/.433/.679; 7 BB, 12 K over 60 PA
  • Tyler Saladino: .333/.379/.481; 1 BB, 4 K over 29 PA

It’s the reasonable strikeout rates that provide the actual encouragement. Engel and Davidson both suffered from strikeout rates well above 30 percent last year, and both players struggled making contact last spring, so it’s worth noting that they’re striking out far less often this time around.

They kept it going on Monday. Engel went 3-for-3 at the plate and 1-for-2 on the basepaths, and Davidson went 3-for-4 with a homer. Maybe Albert Suarez and the Diamondbacks pitching staff couldn’t throw quality breaking balls, but hammering mistakes is a lot of the battle for players trying to ward off the AAAA label.

They had plenty of company in this department during the White Sox’ 15-2 victory over the Diamondbacks, as the lineup produced 20 hits and five walks. Hell, they scored seven runs in the same inning that umpires deprived Matt Skole of a grand slam because it’s the batter’s eye, not the umpire’s eye.

All this offense meant that Fulmer had the good kind of short outing for once.

Fulmer threw four no-hit innings for the kind of start he needed to stake semi-credible claim to the fifth starter job. He might have gone out for the fifth inning under normal circumstances since he’d only thrown 72 pitches, but the top of the fifth inning took about 72 minutes, give or take a half-hour. It would have been his second prolonged break of the afternoon.

“Hitless” won’t be confused with “perfect” here. Fulmer walked three and threw just 38 of 72 pitches for strikes. Most of the zone issues were confined to a period of four batters from the end of the second inning into the third. That’s where all of his three walks occurred, as he missed the zone with 15 of 16 pitches during that stretch.

He opened the third with two four-pitch walks to the bottom of the Diamondbacks order, which threatened to undo his good work from the first two innings. After Jarrod Dyson’s deep flyout, Fulmer fell behind 3-0 to A.J. Pollock, but ended up getting a backwards K on a fastball that might’ve been low. Paul Goldschmidt then flied out to end the threat.

Fulmer finished his day on middle ground with a 1-2-3 fourth inning, getting three groundouts, two of them on three-ball counts.

The stuff looked good, and there’s data with it — 91 to 94 with life, the changeup with fade and the curveball with snap. The Diamondbacks didn’t make firm contact when Fulmer made them swing, Maybe Fulmer was lucky to come away with the zeroes on his line, but he deserved its overall quality.

It’s almost as if that big control burp was there to keep everybody at their exact same level of enthusiasm. Fulmer and Rick Renteria can point to the full day’s work and call it the kind of outing they need to see. Those who think Fulmer’s starting days are numbered point to that stretch of 16 pitches and say he can’t maintain his mechanics for more than a couple innings at a time.

Hector Santiago is still throwing on Fulmer’s schedule, coming out of the bullpen and throwing two scoreless innings on Monday. Although Santiago has outpitched Fulmer, such relief jobs will likely be his role to start the season. During the broadcast, Jason Benetti and Steve Stone said Renteria liked the idea of using Santiago as a left-handed foil against lineups tooled up for an all-righty rotation. The idea has a lot of merit, but it requires Fulmer to be capable of pitching at least five innings on a regular basis.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Default image
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

Articles: 3413
15 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
PauliePaulie

I believe yesterday’s start just prolonged the inevitable. But because it’s ’18, no biggie.

GrinnellSteve

Matty D lined a single through the right side. If he can adopt that approach, he just might be able to push that K rate down. Could he be this year’s Avi? Probably not.

35Shields

Hell, I’d be thrilled if Avi was this year’s Avi

katiesphil

I’m just hoping he is serviceable to DH and spell Jose every now and again. I’m pulling for him, but refusing to let myself get all optimistic and stuff.

GrinnellSteve

I don’t have much hope for him, but in that at bat, I saw a possible way forward.

Trooper Galactus

Given what Davidson’s shown in AAA and the majors during his White Sox career, I find it really hard to be very optimistic about him. Still, if he cuts down on the Ks significantly, that’s most of the battle for him.

L2R

Nice to hear some good news. I know Fulmer cares about being a starter a lot more than I do. I just want him pitching good enough to be on the 25 man roster. Whatever he becomes, we have room

Anohito

That shoulda been skolmer’s got me thinking that was quite a weird occurrence. Probably only possible in Spring due to no formal review. I mean if something like that happened in Chase for instance off that flat batter’s eye, there’s a clear home run demarcation line that would have been seen and clear the ball passes it. Though it kind of looked clear there too, maybe not as. Well whatever it’s ST, where 420 foot bombs are singles that are outs.

PauliePaulie

Jim Callis spit out a quick top 5 mock draft.
1)Mclanahan, 2)Singer, 3)Mize, 4)Madrigal, 5)Liberatore. Second this week picking Madgrigal to the Sox.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I’m sure someone’s already made a singer / madrigal joke already, right?

katiesphil

something, something, tights and lutes

Otter

No Beer, horrible list.

PauliePaulie

Cobb rumored to O’s at @ 3/50.

Trooper Galactus

Solid deal for them if it keeps them under the draft compensation limit.

Un Perro

That was some dreadful baserunning (basestanding?) from Anderson on the Skole “single”.