For the flailing Chicago White Sox offense, it just wasn’t much of a game.
For starter Carlos Rodón, who entered action today with a tidy 1.59 ERA through his first two starts, it was a woefully inefficient one.
But for Monday bullpen call-up Carson Fulmer, an otherwise flaccid, 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays marked his first smiles on a baseball diamond in at least a year.
With the bullpen taxed and Rodón doing little to preserve it, burning through 111 pitches without even getting out of the fifth, Fulmer was a lifesaver.
Rodón largely only used his fielders to catch balls thwacked around by Tampa’s sneaky-good offense, surrendering eight hits and four earned runs, with his pitch count skyrocketing due to five walks and nine strikeouts. The southpaw ace threw a first inning with three walks (forcing in a run with one free pass, two runs overall)
and another 26 pitches in another two-run second. After just four innings, Rodón was at 98 pitches.
When run from the game with two outs in the fifth, Rodón had made just 62 of 111 throws for strikes, with 20 swinging strikes (16 off of sliders). Rodón fell to 1-2 on the season.
Fulmer came on and was surprisingly efficient into the eighth inning. He almost his outing sans damage, but the eight innings greeted him with a single, walk and walk. With two outs, Fulmer issued a five-pitch walk to Austin Meadows, which pushed home another run, giving the Rays a 5-1 lead.
Nate Jones is owed a fancy dinner from Fulmer — or at least a quick taco run on the way to the airport as Fulmer heads back to Charlotte — for bailing him out of that two-out, sacks-packed situation. Jones mowed down Ji-Man Choi with some 95 mph chin music, staunching Tampa’s rally.
Fulmer finished at three innings, three hits, one earned run, two walks and three Ks. He didn’t own the strike zone (28 of 47 pitches for strikes) but was crisp, with fastball bite getting up to nearly 95 mph.
On the Tampa end, Blake Snell was ruthlessly efficient in dismantling the White Sox offense today, yielding six hits and one earned over six innings, punching out 11 Chicago batters.
Snell’s only mistake came with two outs in the fifth inning to José Rondon, who reached down to golf a rolling curveball deep to left field.
Chicago had one other rally, coming in the sixth. Leury García smacked the second of his three hits, a double, into the corner leading off. García moved to third when Tim Anderson squibbed an infield single, but from there, Snell struck out José Abreu, Welington Castillo and Yoán Moncada. It’s 21st Century offense, baby.
Both the White Sox and Rays struck out 14 times in the game — the difference was that Tampa walked eight times as well, while Chicago had zero free passes. Everyone in the White Sox lineup had at least one strikeout.
García’s three hits pushed his season average to .375, with an .832 OPS. Anderson had “just” one hit, smothering his league-leading batting average to .527 (1.326 OPS).
Fulmer was optioned to the Knights after the game, making room for Ervin Santana to be activated from the injured list in time to start tomorrow’s game, which begins at 1:10 p.m. CT on NBCSCH and WGN radio. Santana will face Charlie Morton, who statistics will have you believe has started his season even hotter than Snell.