White Sox top Mariners behind Giolito’s masterful performance

General Gio: A few hours after his first Twitch stream (with the username GeneralGio), Lucas Giolito pitched admirably in a win over the Mariners. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)

It was a pitcher’s duel at Guaranteed Rate field, as offense was hard to come by. The White Sox scored twice, and that was enough to secure a victory, as they beat the Mariners by a score of 2-1.

White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito was terrific once again. The Mariners struggled to make contact, as Giolito racked up nine strikeouts in his six and two-thirds innings on the mound. The only hiccup came in the top of the third, when left fielder Mallex Smith hit a two-out home run of the solo variety. The home run was Smith’s second of the year, and it gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead.

On the other side, Mariners starter Marco Gonzales was nearly flawless in his first few innings. However, Gonzales ran into trouble in the fifth. After issuing a dreaded leadoff walk to Edwin Encarnacion, Danny Mendick doubled, and the White Sox had runners on second and third with no outs. Adam Engel cashed in on the RBI opportunity by slicing a single to score both baserunners, and the White Sox took a 2-1 lead. Despite this clutch hit, Engel is off to a slow start at the plate (.125/.152/.156). Hopefully, this will help him turn things around.

The Mariners could not put up a rally against Giolito, as their bats went quiet after Smith’s home run. Giolito’s final line was the following: six and two-thirds innings, three hits, one run (it was earned), one walk, and nine strikeouts. Giolito now has a 1.89 ERA, and he boasts 0.7 Baseball-Reference WAR through just three starts. Giolito is averaging 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings, his WHIP is 1.000, and he is allowing only 6.6 hits per nine innings.

The bullpen had no margin for error, as the White Sox could not add any insurance runs. However, relievers Evan Marshall and Aaron Bummer got the job done. Marshall retired all four batters he faced, striking out one of them. Bummer took over in the top of the ninth, and he worked around a single to pick up his third save of the season. Marshall has not allowed an earned run in five and one-third innings, and Bummer also has a perfect ERA, in three and one-third innings.

Now, for some updates on how players are performing in this simulation. First, we will start with the bad news. Eloy Jiménez has no extra base hits yet, slashing .238/.360/.238. Sure, he has drawn a lot of walks, so his OBP is high. But, the surprising lack of power to open the season results in him being worth -0.1 WAR. Yasmani Grandal has a similar story, as he is slashing .167/.302/.278. Like Jiménez, Grandal is drawing lots of walks (as expected), but he is otherwise not hitting well, resulting in 0.0 WAR. On the other hand, Danny Mendick is slashing .458/.480/.625 (0.5 WAR), so there is no need to rush Nick Madrigal to The Show. Yoán Moncada is also off to a hot start, slashing .333/.429/.571 (0.6 WAR).

After today’s victory, the White Sox’s record stands at 8-3, while the Mariners fell to 8-4. The White Sox will take on the Mariners again tomorrow, and they are seeking a sweep. If the White Sox manage to pull off the sweep, it would be their second in the young season.

We’ll wrap this up with some trivia related to the events of today’s simulation:

  1. The White Sox designated Carson Fulmer for assignment and placed him on irrevocable waivers. In 2015, the White Sox drafted Fulmer out of which school?
  2. This was Giolito’s third start of the year. Giolito has had at least eight strikeouts in all three games. How many pitchers in White Sox history have had a season with 15 or more games with at least eight strikeouts?

Answers

  1. Vanderbilt University.
  2. Two. Only Chris Sale (18 times in 2015) and Lucas Giolito (16 times in 2019) have done that.

Mazara’s heroics lead the White Sox to a thrilling win in simulation

Coming through in the clutch: So far, Nomar Mazara’s come-from-behind three-run homer is the biggest White Sox hit in the young season. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)

Tuesday evening’s game in Cleveland came down to the wire, but the Good Guys came out on top in a 5-4 thriller.

Yasmani Grandal walked in the second inning, and he later came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Nomar Mazara (much more on him later). Grandal is off to a slow start offensively (.158/.238/.211), but it is still very early. While Grandal went hitless, he went on to draw another walk later on to reach base safely twice in four plate appearances.

Mazara’s sacrifice fly put the White Sox on the board with a 1-0 lead, and the score remained the same until the top of the fifth. That was when leadoff hitter Tim Anderson smashed a homer off Cleveland’s rookie southpaw Scott Moss. Moss was excellent in this game, only allowing those two runs (both earned) on three hits in eight innings, striking out eight. Moss appears very much ready for the show, but Anderson took advantage of one of his few mistakes and drove it out for his first homer.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, starter Gio González, making his White Sox debut (he finally pitched for the White Sox!), was on top of his game. González lasted five and two-thirds innings, which isn’t outstanding by any means, but he kept Cleveland off the board. González struck out four Cleveland hitters, walked three, and he allowed four hits. Reliever Steve Cishek had another great performance, retiring all four batters he faced, striking out one of them. Cishek, who recently came over from the other side of Chicago, has now thrown three and two-thirds scoreless innings for the White Sox, and his WHIP is an excellent 0.273.

Offense came at a premium in this matchup, so the score remained 2-0 until the bottom of the eighth, when the wheels fell off. Alex Colomé took over on the mound for Cishek, and he had a nightmarish evening. Of the five batters Colomé faced, three of them went yard. Francisco Lindor led off the inning with a homer, his third of the year. Two batters later, Franmil Reyes launched his fourth dinger, and two batters after Reyes, Domingo Santana launched his second. Then, with a 3-2 deficit, the bases empty, and two outs, Rick Rentería pulled Colomé for Evan Marshall. Carlos Santana reached on an error, and he came around to score an unearned run when Jordan Luplow drove him in with a double.

All of a sudden, entering the ninth, the White Sox trailed by a score of 4-2, and they desperately needed baserunners. The White Sox had struggled to get baserunners all evening. However, they managed to get on base when they needed to. With two on and one out, Nomar Mazara stepped up to the plate against Nick Wittgren. Wittgren missed his spot, but Mazara did not miss the ball. Mazara launched his second home run of the season, and this one silenced the Cleveland crowd.

In the blink of an eye, the White Sox were back on top, with a 5-4 lead. The White Sox did not tack on any insurance runs, so the bottom of the ninth was stressful. Rentería turned to Aaron Bummer, who the White Sox recently gave a contract extension to. Uncharacteristically, Bummer faced all sorts of problems finding the strike zone, walking two of the three batters he faced. Bummer also allowed a single, though he did record an out when Adam Engel gunned down Óscar Mercado trying to advance to third on said single. When Bummer departed, there were runners on first and second, one out, and the White Sox were clinging to a 5-4 lead.

In stepped Jace Fry, perhaps the best story from the 2018 season, in a huge spot. The batter was Franmil Reyes, who had just homered the previous inning. On the second pitch, Reyes beat a curveball (this is an educated guess; Baseball-Reference does not disclose pitch types) into the ground, and the White Sox turned a double play to end the threat and seal a thrilling victory.

And so, despite only getting five hits, the White Sox got a hard-earned victory at Progressive Field. After tonight’s victory, the White Sox’s record sits at 3-2, which is now the same as Cleveland’s record. The White Sox will wrap up this three-game in Cleveland tomorrow, and they will look to complete a sweep. Let’s get it done, but first, let’s take a look at a couple of trivia questions related to tonight:

  1. In this simulation, Nomar Mazara just became the third member of the White Sox to hit his second home run. Last season, who were the first three White Sox players to reach two homers?
  2. The White Sox drafted Jace Fry, who earned his first save since August 29, 2018, out of the same school as Nick Madrigal. Which school is this?

Answers

  1. José Abreu, Yoán Moncada, and Tim Anderson.
  2. Oregon State University.