White Sox

Why Carson Fulmer's fifth-inning escape could be a building block

Why Carson Fulmer's fifth-inning escape could be a building block

CLEVELAND -- With every pause in the fifth inning, and there were quite a few, the Progressive Field crowd booed Carson Fulmer and the White Sox a little louder.

There was the delay after Fulmer balked the go-ahead run to second base and sought an explanation for the call. A few seconds after that, manager Rick Renteria made a trip to the mound in search of clarification. Beyond that, Fulmer, in an attempt to slow things down, stepped off the rubber several times.

Each time, the sellout crowd got louder.

Yet Fulmer maintained his composure throughout it all. In yet another plus for the team’s future, Fulmer pitched out of a tricky situation to silence the gathering of 33,173. The White Sox rewarded their rookie for the effort with a run in the top of the sixth inning and the bullpen did the rest in a 2-1 victory over the Indians. Fulmer’s third win in four decisions meant the White Sox finished September with a 15-14 record.

“He showed a lot of poise and character throughout that whole situation,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Things like that happen. There’s going to be disagreements. But it’s how you deal with it and I thought he did a nice job continuing to get back out there.”

Everything was in place for Cleveland in the fifth inning. The atmosphere tensed up when Michael Brantley stepped into the on-deck circle as a pinch-hitter after Fulmer hit Yan Gomes with one out and the White Sox ahead by a run. Brantley, who was activated off the disabled list earlier Saturday, followed with a single on the 10th pitch of his at-bat, putting runners on the corners. Francisco Lindor tied it with an RBI fielder’s choice.

With Jason Kipnis at bat, then came a “left knee buckle” from Fulmer, according to plate umpire Pat Hoberg. Instead of picking Lindor off first to end the inning, the runner advanced 90 feet into scoring position. But Fulmer didn’t let the situation get out of control. He stepped off the mound, twice, before Kipnis flew out to center.

“We wanted to make sure I was clear to make the right pitch,” Fulmer said. “There were a couple of things that happened that I just wanted to take a deep breath. With a veteran guy like that, you have to respect his time in the box. But like I said, the game couldn’t go in your favor if you didn’t make the right pitch. I tried to control the situation as much as I could. I was able to get the fastball in after him barreling some balls up foul. I was lucky enough to make the right pitch and get out of the inning.”

Blister issues aside, Fulmer’s had several confidence-building moments in September. He returned to the majors after getting shelled in his Aug. 21 start and pitched well.

Upon returning, Fulmer started in the bullpen and then moved into the rotation. Overall, he posted a 1.64 ERA in 22 innings, allowing four earned runs, 12 hits, 10 walks and struck out 19. Fulmer also went toe-to-toe with Corey Kluber on Saturday, a master of handling the moment. That wasn’t lost on Fulmer, who hopes his fifth-inning escape is something to build off of.

“It's these experiences,” Fulmer said. “If I want to get to where I want to be, and the guys want to get on this team to where they want to be, we have to be put in situations like that.”

“Definitely having success is great but he threw a heck of a game. You've got to give respect to him but take this experience and continue to move forward.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Machado Watch continues for White Sox

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Machado Watch continues for White Sox

Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report/”Big Ten Unfiltered” podcast), Chris Emma (670TheScore.com) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join Kap on the panel. Machado Watch continues. Will the Orioles actually trade him? Meanwhile, has Alex Cobb’s price tag become too high for the Cubs?

Vincent Goodwill joins Kap to talk Bulls and the guys discuss how much Mitch Trubisky needs to win to help his development.

White Sox reportedly not offering up top prospects for Manny Machado

White Sox reportedly not offering up top prospects for Manny Machado

The Manny Machado saga spins on, though it’s looking far less promising for White Sox fans who wanted to see the Baltimore Orioles’ superstar third baseman come to the South Side this winter.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale chronicled the latest happenings with Machado in an exhaustive Thursday report that heavily featured the White Sox, who apparently have not decided to blow up their rebuilding effort by dealing away multiple top prospects. That’s not happening, per Nightengale, who reported the White Sox didn’t include any of their highest rated guys in an offer that was at one point reported to be the best out there for Machado. Nightengale did still report the White Sox offer as “solid.”

In fact, as Nightengale continued, it seems the White Sox made their offer completely expecting to have Machado for just the 2018 season. Machado is slated to be one of the headliners of next winter’s crazy good free-agent class.

The catch comes, perhaps not surprisingly to those familiar with the Orioles’ reputation, from Baltimore owner Peter Angelos, who is dramatically concerned that the White Sox would acquire Machado simply to flip him elsewhere in a trade — specifically, Angelos worries, to the New York Yankees, the Orioles’ division rivals. Nightengale added that the White Sox have repeatedly assured the Orioles they won’t do such a thing, but Angelos doesn’t seem to be sold.

The big headline for the White Sox, though, from the whole thing is that all this buzz and speculation doesn’t seem to involve them pulling a 180 on what they’ve worked for more than a year to do: gather a ton of highly touted prospects and build a homegrown champion. Michael Kopech, who seemed to fit the Orioles’ wishes as a young controllable pitcher, has been said to be “untouchable.” And if none of the organization’s top prospects were included in the deal, as Nightengale said, it’d be logical to assume that Lucas Giolito wasn’t involved in the team’s trade proposal either.

The White Sox became the buzz of baseball on the final day of the Winter Meetings with reports flying all over the place that they were making the most aggressive push for Machado and that they had made the Orioles the best offer of any team. The initial, middle-of-the-night report from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal listed Kopech and Giolito as potential trade chips.

But a trade seemed to make little sense for the South Siders, who would have to give up multiple of their precious prospects — players projected to be the future of the big league team and deliver perennial contention — for nothing more than one guaranteed season of Machado, who is expected to receive a huge payday once he hits the free-agent market. Even with Machado, the White Sox wouldn’t figure to be a championship contender in 2018. That’d be putting all the eggs into one basket, that one season in Chicago would somehow convince Machado to skip the free-agent frenzy and sign with the White Sox.

Simply put, it’d be an incredibly risky move.

But apparently those aren’t the dice Rick Hahn and his front office are ready to roll, which ought to ease the concerns of rebuild fans, even if it might disappoint those who wanted to see Machado come to Chicago.