As hard as it is to believe, Cactus League games for the White Sox are beginning to wind down. With only nine days now until the regular season opener, that means a heavy dose of the everyday players taking the field for the Sox from now until Opening Day. With that fact in mind, today’s 15-2 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks is a very good sign.
The best sign today was a performance from the pitching staff that carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning, highlighted by a four-inning showing by presumed fifth starter Carson Fulmer.
Fulmer’s struggles have been well documented this spring. Coming into the game the former eighth overall pick had struggled with everything, namely control. The righty had posted an 18.90 ERA in 6.2 innings pitched. Today was a different story for Fulmer. Sitting at around 95 mph with his fastball, he was in control from beginning to end. Across four no-hit innings, Fulmer relied heavily on his heater, but was also able to use his curveball for a strike effectively; it was a very efficient day for Fulmer.
Also, it was an important start for a player whose capability to hold down the fifth spot in the rotation has been called into question lately. He told reporters that this start will give him confidence headed into the season, noting it was something he needed. While Fulmer’s control was not perfect today, as he walked four batters, he told reporters it was still a start he could build on.
Fulmer was not the only White Sox player to impress today. Coming in relief for Fulmer after he departed were bullpen candidates Xavier Cedano and Hector Santiago. Cedano was able to pick up where Fulmer left off and retire the side in the fifth inning, walking one and striking out one.
Hector Santiago continued his hot spring, delivering two innings in relief, allowing no hits and striking out two. Santiago likely cemented his spot on the roster with yet another great performance today. The combined no-hitter was broken up in the eighth inning, with the hit being allowed by Robbie Ross Jr.
While the pitching staff was lights out today, the White Sox bats were perhaps even more impressive. A lineup consisting of most of the opening day starters was aggressive from the beginning.
Yoan Moncada picked up two hits and drove in three runs at the top of the lineup as he continues to prove he is built for the leadoff role. Moncada was not the only Sox hitter to hit the ball well today. Matt Davidson, Ryan Cordell, Wellington Castillo, and Tim Anderson all collected multiple hits today—the highlight of which was a towering home run from Davidson in a seven-run fifth inning for the Sox.
All in all it was a successful day for the White Sox, as the regulars begin preparing for the start of the regular season on March 29 in Kansas City.