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Fulmer falters, eventually; Padres pitching stymies Sox

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A better outing for the scuffling starter, but Chisox still fall, 2-0

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres
Revenge of Richard: Ex-Sox Clayton suffocated Chicago with eight ground outs in four innings.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago White Sox offense, which as of just a few days ago was humming along at a near-.300 clip, has hit a major pothole.

In the past two days (three games), the team has wheezed to a 17-of-95 clip, which amounts to a (avert your eyes, baines03!) .179 average. The team has been shut out in two of three games, and has mustered just four runs total.

With a razor-thin offensive margin of error, it would have taken a perfect pitching effort to elude another loss.

Carson Fulmer stopped just short of having that perfect start, and sure enough, his imperfection was all the San Diego Padres needed in a 2-0 win.

Fulmer cruised through 2 23 innings, and was just one strike away from everyone nodding their heads in agreement, saying, yep, the kid’s turned a corner.

Instead, successive solo home runs to Matt Szczur and Corey Spangenberg, a whip-crack double from Freddy Galvis, and a walk to Franchy Cordero — extending the third inning by almost 20 pitches — kept Fulmer in almost the same place as he was to begin today.

Resisting the temptation to overreact after just three spring outings, it looks increasingly like Fulmer’s future is as a bullpen piece for the White Sox.

Scout validation? Check.

The good news is that Fulmer had nothing but positive takeways from his effort today, indicating particular pleasure that his breaking ball was getting Padres hitters to chase. Overall, Fulmer said postgame, “I was able to get through three [innings] with two runs, so a really good outing for me.”

It didn’t help that by comparison, ex-Sox Clayton Richard pitched four innings of masterful ball, inducing ground balls almost at will — eight of 12 of his outs, in fact. Most menacingly, the lefty coaxed Patrick Leonard into two consecutive GIDPs.

The White Sox could only muster five hits, and just one for extra bags, a second-inning double by Luis Basabe. Basabe later was extinguished on a rundown at home plate on a Ryan Cordell grounder to second, which turned into a double play when Cordell tried to take second during the third-base-line chicanery.

So highlights in Peoria were scarce, as the White Sox fell under .500 for the first time since spring training’s first day, and they all came from the bullpen.

Aaron Bummer was delightful, whiffing all three Padres he faced in a perfect fourth. Joakim Soria, Robbie Ross Jr. and Hector Santiago couldn’t match Bummer’s perfection, but collectively spun four innings of two-hit, six-strikeout, two-walk (Santiago, the screwy ’baller!) ball.

Let’s hope tomorrow’s lineup vs. the Chicago Cubs, which should be closer to what we’ll see on Opening Day, can shake the offense out of the doldrums.