Everything about the White Sox’ embarrassing 11-2 defeat against the Cubs on a miserable Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field screamed “new low.”
In the interest of accuracy, though, we must point out that it wasn’t. You see, this isn’t the first 35-game rodeo for the Sox that ended in a twisted, painful 9-26 heap. The 1948 team also started 9-26. So these Sox have that going for them, which is, well, not very nice at all.
A dive into the history books shows the ’48 Sox won Game No. 36 to move to a sparkling 10-26. That means Saturday’s middle portion of a three-game set will bring the threat of a worst-start-ever outcome.
“Extremely frustrating,” said starting pitcher Carson Fulmer, who failed to make it out of the second inning.
Fulmer was referring to his latest outing, not to the team’s struggles at large, though these days it’s difficult to tell the difference between one Sox problem and another. The 24-year-old right-hander was rocked by five first-inning runs, the last four dancing home on a grand slam by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. His ERA soared to 6.23.
Is Fulmer long for the Sox rotation?
“As far as we’re concerned, it would be premature for me to comment on that right now,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s slated to make his next start. … We’ll see what we can figure out and we’ll see if we can put him back on track and continue to move forward.”
Statistically, though, Fulmer’s seven 2018 starts have represented a step backward from his handful of late-season starts in 2017.
He has logged time in previous Sox bullpens. He is getting what seems to have been a fair shake prove himself as a starter. The results so far leave a lot to be desired, though Fulmer insists, even after Friday’s debacle, that he’s a starter — and only a starter — and that his confidence remains high.
“I have a lot of belief in myself,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence. I know my ability is good enough to be here and stay here. I’ll never be discouraged in myself. That’s not who I am.”
Renteria bore an irritated expression when asked if he was embarrassed by a stumble-filled performance to open the high-profile Crosstown Showdown against the have-it-all Cubs.
“I will let you guys qualify it,” he said tersely.
But it was ugly, even for these Sox. There was Matt Davidson getting himself picked off second base by Contreras to shoot down a third-inning rally. There was Nicky Delmonico — waved home by third-base coach Nick Capra — getting thrown out by a mile at the plate by Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber to end the fifth. There were multiple Sox errors, including the one by Davidson that paved the way to four Cubs unearned runs in the seventh.
“You never want to lose like that,” Davidson said.
The Sox — owners of the worst record in the major leagues — have lost six straight games, 10 of 11 and 19 of 24. They are 0-5 in interleague play.
They’ve lost six of their last seven games against the Cubs, too, and four of their last five games at Wrigley Field. That’s no way to hold up their end of the rivalry.
“This is a big series for us to go out there and win some ballgames,” Fulmer said.
One down, two to go. If it doesn’t seem like this season can get any worse, check back here on Sunday.