With Rodon to DL, Sox need a spot start

White Sox starter Carlos Rodon will need a trip to the 15-day disabled list after slipping on the dugout steps and spraining his pitching wrist. While it’s not the best of circumstances for a team to lose a starter, especially to something so freakish as a slip and fall, the All Star break helps with the timing and could mean that the White Sox need only use a spot starter twice–perhaps even once–while Rodon rests up.

It’s not been smooth trip through for Rodon through the first half of his sophomore season. There have been bumps in the road and they have been sizable. I still like the ability and the potential quite a bit, however. Not all pitchers are Chris Sale. They don’t just arrive at the Big League level and dominate the way Sale, who’s now a five-time All Star, did when moved into the rotation. Rodon, particularly because his deficiency seems to be fastball command on a start-to-start basis, is more subject to volatility than others. He can be particularly nasty but, because of a susceptibility to deeper counts, is vulnerable to batters having seen him longer and taking advantage of the added information.

As the White Sox return to the second half against the Angels, figure Jose Quintana to get the first start of the unofficial second half. James Shields and Miguel Gonzalez, in either order, are likely to be the second and third starters out of the gate while Sale, pitching in the All Star game on three days rest, will make the fourth start of the second half Monday against the Mariners. Tuesday would see someone called up from the minor leagues to make a spot start but it’s anyone’s guess as to who that might be.

A longshot, and an interesting one at that, would be Carson Fulmer. Fulmer, the Sox first round pick in 2015 has been on somewhat of a roll of late. His last three starts have been promising. On June 26th he went seven scoreless innings, gave up two hits and two walks and struck out seven. July 1st saw him go seven scoreless again and strikeout five while walking three and giving up three hits. July 6th he went 5 innings and gave up two earned on five hits en route to striking out 10 and walking three.

The White Sox were aggressive with his assignment to AA in the first place and the conversations both public and private have been optimistic about Fulmer’s potential to help out at the major league level this season. A spot start, with the addendum of him moving into the major league bullpen afterward, might give the Sox a chance to evaluate his arsenal against major league hitters and shape his plan as a reliever going down the line in 2016. While the promotion to the Major Leagues would be an aggressive one, Fulmer seems to be a kid who’s able to process the accelerated path the Sox have chosen for him so far and understands what’s being asked of him.

Plus, it’d just be fun to see what he’s got.

First order of business this weekend, however, is to take the last two against the Atlanta Braves and head into the All Star Break four games over .500. The Sox have Jose Quintana and James Shields throwing in the final two games of the season and both pitched very well their last time out.

Enjoy these last two and the break! We’ll have more White Sox baseball Friday, July 15th when the White Sox take on the Angels on WLS AM 890 and the White Sox radio network.