CHICAGO -- Sometimes, during a rebuild, certain moments can provide a glimpse of the potential that's to come, much like Reynaldo Lopez's stellar outing Sunday against the Tigers. Other times, a team must endure growing pains while young talent develops.For the White Sox, Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the Rays was
CHICAGO -- Sometimes, during a rebuild, certain moments can provide a glimpse of the potential that's to come, much like Reynaldo Lopez's stellar outing Sunday against the Tigers. Other times, a team must endure growing pains while young talent develops.
For the White Sox, Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the Rays was one of those growing-pain days. Starter Carson Fulmer, the team's first-round Draft pick in 2015, struggled with command all afternoon, walking six Rays in 4 2/3 innings and hitting another two. He also threw a wild pitch and balked.
"The walks are a really big thing for me that I pride myself on a lot. Obviously, there were six of them. That can't happen," Fulmer said. "I was able to minimize, but the thing for me obviously I put our team in a bad place there."
Shaky defense compounded Fulmer's problems in the third. After Rays designated hitter Daniel Robertson led off with a walk, Fulmer attempted a pickoff and caught Robertson in between first and second.
But Tim Anderson dropped Jose Abreu's throw, allowing Robertson to escape a potential rundown and retreat to first. Robertson later scored on Joey Wendle's RBI single.
"We didn't help [Fulmer]," manager Rick Renteria said. "He was able to put himself in the position to possibly get out of a couple of those innings … he worked very well to minimize the damage for the most part."
Despite Fulmer's wildness, the White Sox nearly mounted an impressive comeback in the ninth. Down 6-1, Anderson led off with a double, stole third and scored on Yolmer Sanchez's sacrifice fly. Then, with two outs, an error and a walk opened the door for Abreu's third home run of the season, cutting the deficit to 6-5.
"When [Abreu] hit that ball out of the ballpark, it puts a little charge in you," Renteria said. "Now [Matt Davidson] gets up, he has a nice at-bat and he gets on base. We had [Omar Narvaez] who smoked a line drive to right. You start to get that sense of confidence again."
Davidson, representing the tying run, worked a walk. But Narvaez lined out sharply to right field, ending the game.
Renteria praised his team's late-game fight, saying that even though the White Sox have now lost five straight, they've shown they don't take anything for granted.
"Any young Major League team, any veteran Major League team understands it, learns it, continues to live through it," he said. "We're no different than anybody else. We haven't had the outcomes we've wanted over the last five games but I assure you that there's no confidence being lost."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Insurance run: Given that Rays starter Blake Snell was nearly as wild as Fulmer -- Snell walked five in six innings -- it seemed the White Sox had a decent shot to eventually come back and win. The Rays' ninth-inning score, however, ultimately proved the deciding run. Rays catcher Wilson Ramos came around to score their sixth run after Gregory Infante gave up an RBI single to Robertson. Aaron Bummer limited further damage, striking out the next two batters.
High-RISP situations: The White Sox didn't have many chances to drive in runs, but their best run-scoring opportunity outside Abreu's ninth-inning homer came in the sixth inning when Snell walked consecutive batters with two outs. Delmonico, who scored the White Sox first run in the fifth came to the plate, couldn't cash in though. The lefty worked the count to 2-2, but struck out on a foul tip.
"That's my best pitch. It's been my best pitch my whole career. You know, a pitcher has to have his fastball working regardless of how fast it is, I know mine is really effective. I get a lot of people out on my fastball and 3-2 count with two outs, bases loaded, that's the pitch I'm going to go to." -- Fulmer on his fastball
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
So far this season, the White Sox are 17-for-95 (.179 average) with runners in scoring position. That includes a 3-for-37 stretch (.081) over their last four games.
James Shields faces his former team in Wednesday's series finale at 1:10 p.m. CT, wrapping up the opening homestand. The White Sox begin a seven-game road trip Thursday in Minnesota.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.