Carson Fulmer comes up big in 2nd major-league start
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When September doesn’t mean a pennant race, it becomes evaluation time for a team — and perhaps the best month to evaluate up-and-coming talent.
“This is as good a place to gauge young talent, in September,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. “For some of these young men, it’s real time in terms of a regular season. They’re facing guys who have been playing all year long, and everybody’s kind of zoned in.
“I would rather make a judgment, or little bit more of a judgment, and draw some conclusions as to what we need to work on and what we need to get better at here rather than in spring [training]. This will give us a better understanding of where they’re at, measure what they do and then put a plan together for them as we move forward.’’
For a pitcher such as rookie Carson Fulmer, his second major-league start and an 8-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants couldn’t have been better scripted for the month.
With nine strikeouts through six innings and only one run allowed (a second inning leadoff home run by Jarrett Parker), Fulmer made the right impression.
“He was very effective keeping his cutter down and working at a good tempo,’’ Renteria said.
There are likely more starts ahead for him in the waning days of the month.
“Fulmer will be pitching so we can continue to assess what we could do with him for the upcoming season,’’ Renteria said. “Getting him innings is important and seeing what he’s capable of doing. We’re still in the flow of the season and we can see where he’s at.’’
Fulmer (2-1) had the benefit of a five-run Sox inning off Giants starter Madison Bumgarner (3-8), the one-time Giants World Series star of 2014 who has missed half the season after injuring his left shoulder in a dirt bike mishap in April.
Fulmer struck out the side in the first — around two walks — and in the second after Parker’s homer.
“I was able to get ahead of guys in the count and get guys swinging,’’ he said. “I won’t say it was an audition. It’s more a comfort thing at this point, getting experience, facing a good lineup and building off each start.
“Next year is next year. We still have a lot to accomplish.’’
Jose Abreu accomplished something no other Sox player has, hitting his 30th and 31st homer to become the franchise’s first player with 30 or more homers in three of his first four seasons.
“This is as consistent an approach as I’ve seen of anyone in the big leagues,’’ Renteria said of Abreu, who is 10 short of another 100 RBI season. “He’s really enjoying his moment now.’’
Abreu said getting back his hitting rhythm — and learning Sunday his family in Miami had safely weathered Hurricane Irma — have been “blessings.’’
“It’s all about adjustments. I lost my rhythm with the days I was off and I’m regaining it again,’’ he said. “I feel very good at the plate — but it’s also because of the work I put in day in and out with my routine. I just feel at peace with my life.
“My family is OK, and the White Sox — maybe we aren’t in the position we wanted to be, but we are working to be in that position in the future.’’
Follow me on Twitter @toniginnetti.