I was at Progressive Field when Michael Fulmer made the second start of his big-league career on May 5. He wasn’t very good. The Detroit Tigers right-hander gave up a four spot in the first inning and ultimately left having allowed 10 hits and five runs in five innings.
The game in Cleveland exemplified his early outings. In his first four starts, the 23-year-old rookie surrendered 14 earned runs over 19.1 innings. Then he discovered a changeup. Or, perhaps it could be said, the changeup found him.
To say Fulmer has since found success would be an understatement. Over his last 11 starts, the former Mets prospect — Detroit acquired him at last year’s trade-deadline for Yoenis Cespedes — has allowed a grand total of 11 runs over 70 innings. On the season, he has a record of 9-2 to go with a 2.41 ERA.
Fulmer talked about his ascent — including the changeup that seemingly fell from the sky — prior to last night’s game. The pitch will be on display this afternoon when he takes the mound at Fenway Park.
Fulmer on his development: “There’s hesitation when you first start out. When you’re 18 years old and going into pro ball, you don’t know what to expect. You see big-league guys playing on TV and you’re like, ‘Oh man, that’s going to be so cool. Then you get to the Gulf Coast League and you’re playing at noon. It’s hot and it rains every day. That’s not what I was expecting. I’ve had to learn how it all worked, step by step, at every level along the way.