Deep Dive: Lucas Giolito’s past, present and future with the White Sox

Ace, ascendant: Lucas Giolito was easily the best pitcher on the White Sox staff in 2019. Will he get help going forward? (@whitesox)


“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the Chicago White Sox organization. Each position is broken into a five-part series:

  1. Depth in the rookie levels (Dominican through Great Falls)
  2. Depth in A-ball (Kannapolis and Winston-Salem)
  3. Depth in the higher levels (Birmingham and Charlotte)
  4. Under the Radar-type detail on one of the White Sox players at that position
  5. Free agent options at that position

This article delves into the career of Lucas Giolito through 2018, his 2019 season with the White Sox, and what his future looks like with the team.


How did he get here?

Giolito, a native of Santa Monica, had an outstanding senior year with Harvard-Westlake High School (Studio City, Calif.) when he posted a 9-1 record in 70 1/3 innings before being sidelined in March due to a sprained ligament in his right elbow. After several of the top doctors in the area gave his elbow’s health a thumbs-up, Giolito was selected by the Washington Nationals with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft.

The Nationals handled Giolito cautiously that year, as he only pitched two innings for their Gulf Coast squad. The following year, he combined for 11 games and 36 2/3 innings with the GCL and New York-Penn League affiliates. In those innings, Giolito posted a splendid 1.96 ERA and 1.15 WHIP by surrendering just 28 hits (.217 OBA) and 14 walks (9.5%) while striking out 39 (26.5%).

In 2014, Giolito’s stock really escalated. In 20 starts totaling 98 innings, he posted a sensational 10-2 record, 2.20 ERA and 1.00 WHIP for the Nationals “A” team in Hagerstown over 98 inning,s as he ceded 70 hits (.197 OBA) and 28 walks (7.3%) while fanning 110 (28.5%).

The next year saw him spend time with A+ Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg, and his results were still quite good if not quite as terrific — quite understandable when considering he was pitching against hitters that were usually about three years older. In 2015, Giolito combined with those squads to post a 7-7 record, 3.15 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over 117 innings as he surrendered 113 hits (.253 OBA) and 37 walks (7.5%) while striking out 131 (26.5%).

The 2016 season was quite full for Giolito, as he pitched for Hagerstown, Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. In 22 starts totaling 115 1/3 innings, he combined with those three teams to produce a 2.97 ERA and 1.28 WHIP by allowing 104 hits (.239 OBA), 44 walks (9.0%) and 116 strikeouts (23.8%). He then earned his first MLB promotion, but struggled for the Nationals in six appearances spanning 21 1/3 innings as he surrendered 26 hits (.295 OBA) and 12 walks (11.9%) while fanning just 11 (10.9%). With Giolito’s struggles for the playoff-bound Nationals, and the fact that their pitching staff was already loaded, he became expendable and was traded along with pitchers Reynaldo López and Dane Dunning for outfielder Adam Eaton after the season.

Giolito, who was considered an overall Top 20 prospect at the time of the trade, had an uneven season for the Charlotte Knights in 2017, as he struggled with both command and control. In 24 starts spanning 128 2/3 innings, Giolito posted a 4.48 ERA and 1.41 WHIP by relinquishing 122 hits (.253 OBA), 59 walks (10.7%) and 134 strikeouts (24.3%). However, he showed significant improvement (including a no-hitter against his former team, Syracuse) as the season progressed, which ultimately landed him a promotion to Chicago by late August. In seven starts for the White Sox totaling 45 1/3 innings, Giolito produced an outstanding 2.38 ERA and 0.95 WHIP by allowing just 31 hits (.190 OBA) and 12 walks (6.7%) while striking out 34 (19.0%).

Giolito suffered through easily his worst year as a professional last year with the White Sox, as he struggled immensely with both his command and control. In particular, he had difficulty avoiding the big inning. In 32 starts totaling 173 1/3 innings, he compiled an ugly 6.13 ERA and 1.48 WHIP by relinquishing 166 hits (.250 OBA) and 90 walks (11.6%) while fanning just 125 (16.1%). Giolito’s 90 walks and 118 earned runs were both league worsts. On the positive side, his FIP was only 5.56 so it appears that a little bad luck combined with his poor control contributed to his troubles.


With the White Sox in 2019

Despite exiting the 2019 season a couple weeks early due to a lat strain, Giolito not only enjoyed a terrific bounce-back, but was one of the best righthanders in the majors. In 29 starts totaling 176 2/3 innings, he posted a 14-9 record with a 3.41 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, as he surrendered just 131 hits (.205 OBA) and 57 walks (8.1%) compared to 229 strikeouts (32.5%). The biggest damage to his stat line was that he had a professional career-worst 36.0% ground ball rate, which largely led to his 24 homers allowed. That blemish aside, Giolito’s year was off-the-charts, and he was easily the league’s most improved pitcher.

What were the major factors for his improvement? Overhauled pitching mechanics, offseason work on the mental aspect of the game, a sinker that’s been mothballed in favor of more four-seamers, and increased use of his changeup, particularly against lefties — there is no shortage of factors that have contributed to Giolito’s turnaround. Giolito gets ahead of hitters far more often, gets them to chase outside the zone more often, and his strikeout rate practically doubled, from 16.1% to 32.1% while his walk rate fell from 11.6% to 8.3%. Despite Giolito’s fairly high homer total, he still managed to cut his homer rate from 1.4/9 innings to 1.08. Even while becoming a fly ball-oriented pitcher, he’s cut his homer rate from 1.4 per nine to 1.08. It all adds up to one of the most impressive turnarounds of any pitcher in recent memory.

As mentioned above, Giolito increased the usage of his four-seam fastball from 39% to 55% while he didn’t throw his sinker at all in 2019 (he threw it 20.5% of the time in 2018). Off his four-seamer, hitters slashed just .203/281/.364, which was a major improvement from the year before (.274/.412/.524). Losing his sinker was a great career move, as hitters slugged .445 against it last year. Giolito increased his changeup usage from 15.7% in 2018 to 26.2%, and hitters slashed just .190/.270/.360 against it this year. He used the slider 14.7% of the time this year, a nearly identical rate from last year; opponents slashed just .213/.251/.362 against it this year. Finally, which comes as a surprise to many since the pitch was graded 70 by MLB Pipeline when he was still a prospect, Giolito’s curveball usage fell from 10.1% to 4.1% and with good reason — hitters rocked that pitch this year to the tune of a .318/.426/.682 slash line. According to Baseball Savant, Giolito’s four-seamer averaged 94.2 mph, with obviously lower speeds on his slider (84.6), changeup (81.7) and curveball (79.4%).

Giolito posted a 5.1 fWAR for the year. Considering each fWAR is worth approximately $7.7 million free agent dollars per FanGraphs, when measured against his 2019 salary of $573,000, Giolito produced a whopping net value of nearly $38.7 million. Giolito won’t be eligible for arbitration until the end of the 2021 season.


What does the future have in store?

It’s hard to believe, but Giolito won’t even turn 26 until next July, and he won’t be eligible to become a free agent until the 2024 season. While there’s no rush to give Giolito an extension quite yet, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing to consider if he repeats his performance next year. The lat strain, which caused a premature end to this season, would typically put someone on the shelf for just three or four weeks during the season, so Giolito’s injury shouldn’t have any effect on him next year.

As for 2020 and beyond, Giolito could be part of a young mix that includes some combination of López, Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease, Carlos Rodón, Dunning and Jonathan Stiever just to name a few. Giolito is the only one with any viable track record of production, experience and durability — all the other aforementioned pitchers have either battled inexperience, inconsistency, or injuries.

Of course, Giolito only has one full season of success to date, but he’s easily the staff ace. Of course, this doesn’t even include the possibilities of adding a starter or two via free agency if the White Sox decide to finally open their pocketbooks for premier hurlers. Later Deep Dives will delve into right-handed and southpaw rotation options available in this year’s free agent class.

Gamethread: Royals at White Sox

Stuck in a slump: Even MLB.com has noticed Palka’s struggles.

Happy Free T-shirt Thursday! If you can’t make it to the park, fear not! As you might have noticed, we now have a shop link on our site! We are really excited to be releasing our first original commissioned design, and I’ll give a little sneak peek of it in my recap after the game. We’ve had our site up for a touch under a month now, and we’re trying to keep it ad-free so we can focus on baseball, the White Sox, and our amazing team of talented writers. We all take time away from our families/pets/friends/food (I can’t speak for everyone but when I recap West Coast games I typically trade food for a large volume of coffee) to bring you comprehensive coverage of all things Sox, and we do it because we love it.  Yours truly, resident rookie LWilz has taken the role of Maestro of Merch so that we can reward our staff with a little something, while bringing you AWESOME LOOT instead of forcing you to scroll through annoying ads to get to the good stuff in our stories. All proceeds from sales go to our writers and keeping the site running, and since we’re unable to sign all of our contributors’ friends and brothers-in-law to try to keep them around long term, we really value everyone’s help and contributions to our Patreon and merch shop.  Knowing that you appreciate us motivates us to bring you unique stories, such as Lenny G’s interview with former White Sox first round draft pick Keon Barnum.  Read it over here while you await the first pitch of today’s game!

In what I can only imagine was a decision based on too many/lack of pain meds post rotator-cuff surgery, Ricky Renteria has decided to start Daniel Palka in right field today.  South Side Hit Pen’s unofficial mascot, Angie is on the IL, and won’t be shredding any Royals hats for you after today’s game, as she cut her paw and has a couple stitches, so we wish them both a speedy recovery and hope their paws heal soon. 

Realistic dramatization of Ricky’s mental state when he set today’s lineup. (Photo credit @StacheESQ)

Now, down to business:

Your White Sox lineup for today is:

The Royals’ lineup:

Lucas Giolito looks to bounce back from a no-decision after pitching seven innings of three hit, two run ball only to see the game end via a rare blown save by Álex Colomé. Jorge López pitched six innings of three hit shutout ball against the Marlins his last time around, so let’s hope we can get to the Royals’ bullpen early and get Lucas a win!

The game will be on WGN TV and AM 720. First pitch is at 1:10!

Six Pack of Stats: Angels 5, White Sox 4

Drop-off slide: The graph, at the eighth inning mark, was construed to represent a water slide — made for Angels fans only. (FanGraphs)

Lucas Giolito pitches seven innings, and Tim Anderson crushes a two-run homer, but it all goes for naught

The Chicago White Sox’s starting pitching did a job well-done. The Chicago White Sox’s offense did a pretty good job. The Chicago White Sox’s back-end of the bullpen faltered during this fluke of a game.

-.261

In a rare, rare, incredibly bizarre sight, Aaron Bummer had an off day. And, you know what? That’s okay. For how spectacular he has been this season, this is okay. It does hurt that he contributed a -.261 WPA, but his 2.4 WAR this season speaks louder.

.333

Tim Anderson’s 2-for-4 night, which included a single and a two-run blast, kept his batting average at .333. In some of the best news of the night, TA still leads the American League in batting average!

2

This was only the second time ALL season where the Good Guys have lost the game leading after seven innings. That’s pretty impressive given that they aren’t a playoff team, and it just amplifies how great the late-inning arms have been for the South Siders.

7

Lucas Giolito continues to dazzle and impress. Luc-ace G-elite-o allowed only two runs off of three hits in this seven-inning start. Unfortunately, he couldn’t capture his 15th win of the season, but have no fear, he will try again in five days!

107

José Abreu’s first-inning double allowed Tim Anderson to score the first run of the game. TA7 accoutned for Mal Tiempo’s 107th RBI of the season. With Timmy leading the leauge in BA and Abreu second in the league with RBIs, I say we cheer them on to finish first in their respective categories by season’s end!

216

Giolito reocrded his 216th strikeout during tonight’s game. This feat puts Lucas in second place behind Ed Walsh as White Sox righthanders to strikeout at least this many during a season. Walsh recorded 269, 258, 255, and 254 strikeouts from 1908, 1910-1912 (Baseball Reference). Lucas is a little way away from tying Walsh’s 254 strikeouts in 1912, but he might surprise us by the time the season ends. Regardless, I am incredibly happy with how Gio has turned his pitching career around that has resulted in complete games, being one win out from 15, and having his name and Walsh’s in the same conversation.

The Angels put up four late-inning runs to outshine Lucas Giolito’s early dominance

Taste of their own medicine: The White Sox have done their fair share of spoiling ballgames late for their opposition, so the Los Angeles Angels reciprocated the feeling. (@WhiteSox)

Lucas Giolito was feeling it tonight! He wanted that 15th win, and he needed to give the Chicago White Sox a worthy performance to complement Reynaldo López’s utter brilliance from yesterday afternoon’s complete game. As an ace does, Giolito put on a show. Unfortunately, his bullpen couldn’t keep the lead or secure a win. In a frustrating game late, the Good Guys gave the game away.

Let’s marvel for a little bit: Luc-ace G-elite-o lived up to his pun-filled name. Expending 103 pitches, Lucas made it through the seventh-inning stretch. Through that span, Gio struck out six batters, while only walking one (Jared Walsh in the fifth).

Giolito did surrender two runs off of three hits. Luis Rengifo recorded his seventh home run of the season, which spans his whole career, in the third inning. Shohei Ohtani lined a ball to the right field corner, so he turned on the jets and made his way to third base for a triple, one-out in the seventh. An Andrelton Simmons groundout easily scored Ohtani for the Halos’ second run of the game.

Overall, Lucas recorded a quality start by going seven and limiting the opposition to two runs. He even recorded a very neat milestone:

Unfortunately, where the game took a drastic turn for the worst, Aaron Bummer gave up a two-run homer to Brian Goodwin (the game replacement to Mike Trout, who left the baseball game early due to right toe discomfort) during the top of the eighth, so Gio’s fifteenth win of the season will have to wait at least five more days, as today’s game had become a whole new ballgame two outs in the eighth.

Before the game was tied at four, the White Sox took an early lead in the first. Tim Anderson opened the game with a single, and Yoán Moncada followed with a single of his own. As José Abreu has been doing all seasoned, he doubled TA7 home for his 107th RBI of the season! Right after that AB, Eloy Jiménez grounded out to third to score YoYo for an early 2-0 lead.

Aside from the opening scoring, Dillon Peters pitched decently for the next three innings. However, after a no-doubter, two-run home run by none other than Tim “Stick Talk” Anderson,

Peters left the game having only throwing for 4 1/3 innings, a trend (to record four-plus inning outings) for three of his last four games.

The Middleton-Rodriguez-Robles relief trio kept the score at four for when the Angels came to tie it.

Top of the ninth inning, Alex Colomé came into the game to buy the South Siders an inning. Instead, Justin Upton simply crushed a ball to left-center field to untie the game, 5-4.

The Sox couldn’t hone in their late-game heroics, so they dropped the game and are now 62-79. For how fantastic the back-end of the bullpen has been, they are allowed to make mistakes. They are human, and they will get back to work.

Tomorrow night will feature the second game of this three-game weekend series. Dylan Covey (1-7, 6.88 ERA) will take on Andrew Heaney (3-4, 4.16 ERA). I will be attending tomorrow’s 6:10 CT game, which will be broadcasted on NBC Sports Chicago. As always, WGN has the radio coverage. I’m sorry that the sunglasses emoji is still awaiting its highly-anticipated South Side Hit Pen debut, but it will be worth the wait!

Team swept? So what. White Sox fandom is doused with a Defoliant

Instant offense: Or, perhaps, “only offense.” Giolito’s two-run single in the second was the big bop for the Sox. (@WhiteSox)


Listen, there’s going to be some overlap between here and South Side Sox tonight, because there’s a lot going on — namely, the loss of one of our own, Rob Warmowski.

The Chicago White Sox lost 5-3 on Sunday, capping a sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves. As the game was winding up, word was trickling out about a bigger and more personal loss to us as White Sox faithful, Rob’s passing.

I’m writing now, and will be publishing something in the morning, specifically on Rob, a guy I’ve admired for a decade yet had only scratched the surface of. But as the losses for the 2019 White Sox pile up (we’re now churning defeats out at a rate that tracks to more than 90, again, for another season), this personal sticks, and hurts — even for someone like me, who was only beginning to get to know Rob well as a member of our staff here.

We were going to do some great things together, on these pages.


So, this was another game in Atlanta where the White Sox got off somewhat quickly on offense, this time falling behind in the first but rallying right back in the second to tie courtesy of … [checks game notes]… a Lucas Giolito two-run single?

(Benetti: “Did you see his jaw drop when he realized that ball was gonna fall?”)

But the highlights were few from there. Giolito pitched OK, victimized by two, two-run homers by Freddie Freeman, but otherwise acquitting himself as an ace does, keeping his team in the game in spite of a couple of gaffes (just four hits, one walk, seven Ks over six pitched).

Unfortunately, with the White Sox held to just five hits — and in what is becoming a troubling trend, just one extra-base hit (Tim Anderson, double, part of a 2-for-3 day that also included an egregious and failed steal attempt of third base) — our ace did not have four runs of margin of error.

It was encouraging that the White Sox walked five times in the game, and that all three RBIs came with two outs (José Abreu later singled in a run in the seventh to draw the White Sox to within 4-3). But there’s just not a lot more to say, and truly, the news about Rob tonight just makes it an all-around, utterly terrible day.

The White Sox continue their cultural insensitivity tour by shipping up to Cleveland for four games. (That last crack’s for you, @Whitesoxski.)

Gamethread: White Sox at Braves


If you didn’t see it yet, yeah, the big September 1 call-ups this year are … Carson Fulmer and Manny Bañuelos.


It’s a bit of a harried afternoon here, under the circumstances. So, let’s just get to the lineups, close our eyes, click our heels three times, and hope to get outta Atlanta with a win, or at least the roster intact.

Ballgame is at 4:10 p.m., on the WGN. Maybe Ashley will let me borrow the sunglasses emoji if Lucas slings us a win.

Who is Reynaldo López?

It’s time: The young righthander has shown flashes of brilliance, but needs to tighten up his out pitches to anchor himself in the future White Sox rotation. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)


The story of Reynaldo López’s 2019 season seems to be nearing a three-part act. This first half of the season, which totaled 98 innings, was beyond a disaster. Among qualified pitchers by the All-Star break (78 pitchers), López had the worst FIP in MLB at 5.79, the worst HR/9 given up, and a laughably low ground ball rate to go with it. In other words, he looked like a bust and there were a lot of these type of videos every outing:

Reynaldo López, not doing real well in the first half of the season.

After turning in his last start of the first half, López vowed to be better. Fans mostly scoffed because whenever he did show the potential we all know he has, López would revert back to the pitcher some started to think belonged in the bullpen. But then, López backed up that talk and he looked like an actual starting pitcher, like the guy who was good down the stretch in 2018, with a multitude of devastating strikeouts like this:

López was cruising through six starts of fantastic baseball. He wasn’t allowing home runs — just one in 38 innings — to go along with a 2.87 FIP. He had the fifth-best fWAR over that six-start span, with 1.3. Everything was working, and I mean everything.

The fastball gained a little over one mph in velocity, and López was much more crisp with his location. Though not perfect, it was much better than the first half of the season.

López’s fastball placement to righties: first half of the year on the left, from July 14-August 10 on the right.

The heat map above and below is a pretty good indicator of López’s success because he so heavily relies on the fastball. Over the year, he has used his four-seam 57.6% of the time per Baseball Savant. Against righties, as you can see above, López was leaving his fastball in probably the worst possible place — right in the middle of the zone — and that played a part in his dramatic increase in home runs allowed. During his stretch of great pitching, you can see that López’s fastball location against righties started to move inside and a little up. Now, there are still too many fastballs in the heart of the zone, and that location does not allow many ground balls, but the move inside clearly was working.

López’s fastball placement to lefties: first half of the year on the left, from July 14-August 10 on the right.

Against lefties, the fastball has been immensely more crisp as it falls in the top of the zone. Again, that’s not really good placement to induce ground balls, but it is a much harder to hit fastball than what López was throwing in the first half. Also, again, the placement is moving more up and in; not perfect, but the fastball was devastating over that six-game stretch with the new and better zone placement. Using Pitch Info, López accumulated a 4.5 value rating with his fastball, seventh-best in MLB over that stretch.

But it’s not really all about the fastball, even if Reylo seems to want it to be, all the time. In fact, in order for Reynaldo López to be successful he needs to execute and be confident in his change and slider.

Both pitches are important in different ways. López uses the slider predominantly against right-handed batters and the change (with a curve sprinkled in) against lefties. Unfortunately, the slider that López really developed and learned to handle last year was not being duplicated in the first half of 2019. The change, which was López’s worst-rated pitch coming up in the minors, also took a huge dive during the first half of the year. So in effect, Lopez did not have his “out” pitches against both sides of the plate for the first half, for the most part (yes, there was that one 14-strikeout game, where everything clicked).

Because López uses the slider mostly against right-handed batters, if it isn’t on, he will struggle mightily against them. The same thing happens with the change against lefties, and that failure of his out pitches has led to his inconsistent season. When a changeup or slider isn’t good that day, López’s fastball usage skyrockets, which means more well-hit baseballs and more runs allowed.

So far in the second half, López has been much better, but he is still showing that he is far away from being a top-of-the-rotation starter.

López’s first three games out of the break was the best stretch of pitching since last season. Why was it so good? Well, the fastball location we already discussed played a huge part, but the change and the slider also were fantastic. Using Pitch Info’s value statistic, López’s change and slider were positively rated in each game. That success with both pitches led to a 2.16 FIP and 3.06 xFIP over those 21 innings.

The next three starts, though still good and much better compared to López’s pre-July starts, were inconsistent because the off-speed and breaking pitches were not simultaneously good during the same start. One day, the change was great and López was confident in it, so he was much better against lefties that day — but the slider was bad or he was just not using it, so right-handed batters got to him, and vice-versa when the slider was good and the change was bad.

However, because at least one of his out pitches were good, López had good results. He had a 2.65 ERA from July 30 to August 10, but a peripheral stat “saw” a problem during that stretch, with a 6.19 xFIP.

That xFIP spelled doom, and over a two-start stretch from August 15-20, López reverted back to what he was in the first half of this season: bad. His FIP was 5.85, and he had an ERA at 6.35 (that should have been worse because of four unearned runs) over those two starts. The change was awful in the first start, and the slider did not have a positive impact. In the second start, López’s change was better, but the curveball (the other pitch López uses against lefties) was terrible and the slider was also bad. So for the second straight start, López got crushed because his out pitches were not working against their respective batters.

To his credit, in his last start, López did rebound nicely, sort of. He went five no-hit innings because his fastball and slider combination was working very well. However, his changeup was so bad he only used it at a 2.5% rate, so he was really only throwing a fastball against lefties. Thankfully, the four Texas Rangers left-handed batters couldn’t catch up to that fastball despite the team being able to get López into some pitch-count trouble.

What this boils down to is who is the real Reynaldo López? He has been extraordinarily inconsistent, so it is difficult to ascertain if López is making progress, or if he still is just a reliever playing starter. For the majority of this season, López has looked like a reliever, a guy who really only needs one or two pitches in any given at-bat. A starter needs at least three, and maybe even four, to be successful over six-plus innings, and Lopez hasn’t shown he has that ability besides that three-game stretch from July 14-24. Even in the three-game stretch, López still has not been able to rediscover his curve.

But there is a glimmer of hope, because of what we have seen from Lucas Giolito.

When Giolito started to look like a better pitcher last season, the velocity on all of his pitches was up. That has happened with López this season, with the additional spin rate increases over each month of the season so far. The fastball averaged 94 mph in April and has now climbed to 96.8 mph in August. The change has gone from 82.9 mph to 85.5 mph, while the slider has also increased 3.4 mph over the season. López’s changeup and slider are also moving differently in the second half, and they have been more steady as well.

Lopez’s changeup has a horizontal break that is not fluctuating as much, which gives the impression it has been more crisp and repeatable than before. That usually means López has more of a feel for it and better command.

Though not as extreme as the off-speed pitch, López’s slider also has not been fluctuating as much game-to-game in its vertical break lately. The break has also steadily gone up as well, from a -38-inch average in April to -34-inch average in August.

You can look at López in two ways after this. A positive spin is to say he is on an upswing, improving every month. The second, negative take is that it took López half a season to get where he needs to be, and he still has not reached his potential after 432 2/3 career innings.

At this point, López needs to continue this stretch of better baseball. He needs to show he can work consistently with his secondary pitches, like he has on occasion this season, and not just throw meatball fastballs like he did in the first half of 2019. He needs to better prepare himself in the offseason so it doesn’t take half the year to get good.

Thankfully, White Sox fans have already seen a worst-to-near-first turnaround in just one offseason from Giolito. Now it needs to happen with López, because the White Sox need to start winning games.

I’m sure López will be on the roster the next time the White Sox make the playoffs, but what remains to be seen is whether he is in the rotation or the bullpen.

The sky is still the limit for this fireballer, but time is starting to become an enemy instead of an ally.

Twins beat White Sox 3-1; Giolito works quality start

Normally: Two runs over six innings would put a pitcher in line for a win. Not tonight. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)


White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito was not as brilliant as he was last week against the Minnesota Twins.

But he certainly did enough to put the Chicago White Sox in a winning position tonight.

Giolito followed up his shutout of the Twins with a six-inning performance tonight. He gave up just two solo home runs, to Marwin Gonzalez and Jonathan Schoop in the second inning.

That was it. The White Sox bats were stone cold, resulting in a 3-1 loss.

Minnesota is at the top of the league in just about every offensive category, so Giolito’s recent run against these Twinkies is impressive. Giolito also notched his 200th strikeout of the year. It’s truly amazing how far he has come in such a short time. Congrats, Lucas!

What about the offense? Not a lot there tonight.

Tim Anderson hit a solo shot off Twins starting pitcher Michael Pineda in the fourth inning.

Matt Skole pinch-hit for Adam Engel in bottom of the seventh and chased ball four on a 3-2 count. Twins’ reliever Tyler Duffey got some good late movement on the pitch, but Skole reaching would have been nice, especially because two runners were on. Leury García lined out one batter later.

Josh Osich entered the game after Evan Marshall got the first out of the eighth inning and gave up a single. That was the only hitter Osich faced tonight. In came Kelvin Herrera, who coughed up that inherited run on an Eddie Rosario single up the middle.

The White Sox bats would go quietly the rest of the way. Sergio Romo went 1-2-3 in the eighth, and Taylor Rogers did the same in the ninth.

You can file this one away under “Good Signs for 2020.” The Sox have played a good amount of close games this year, thanks to progressions from players who will be around for a long time (hopefully).

Jason Benetti and Steve Stone had some good conversations tonight about the future — when they weren’t dodging foul balls in the booth. They said at this point next year, there is a good chance you’ll see Giolito, Michael Kopech, Reynaldo López, Dylan Cease and Carlos Rodón in the starting rotation. That’s not bad, and that’s without any free agent signing (insert Rick Hahn joke here).

That talk certainly keeps me listening until the end, and hopefully it does for other Sox fans.

Ross Detwiler gets the start for the Sox tomorrow, while Jake Odirizzi starts for the Twins. Joe Resis is on the SSHP coverage.

Six Pack of Stats: Twins 3, White Sox 1

As they say in baseball: Let’s do that baseball! (FanGraphs)


There’s a throwaway gag in Family Guy, where Peter and Lois go to a drive-in movie theater (in a tank, because why not) and watch “The Even Couple” starring Jeff Daniels and Bill Pullman, two mild mannered, evenly tempered actors who you could probably interchange in literally every movie they’ve been in and not notice. This Sox/Twins “thriller” was pretty much like this bit. Two teams performed functional baseball, gave workman-like, professional efforts, and had some moments that moved the needle ever so slightly towards: Meh. Anyway! Here’s your Six Pack of Stats! (brought to you by the number 6)

1+1+1+1+1+1

Both the Twins and White Sox offenses were relatively quiet for most of the night. The Sox could only muster six hits all night. Five singles sprinkled throughout, and one BIG FLY from our very own Tim Anderson that made the game 2-1 in the fourth inning.

Inner-half fastballs don’t usually get hit 400 feet to right center, but (Dr. Malcolm from Jurassic Park voice) Tim … uh … finds a way.

The Twins also had six singles, however the remaining two hits they got were solo homers off of Giolito in the second inning, which ended up being enough tonight!

203

The number of strikeouts for Lucas Giolito so far in the 2019 season, which for those counting at home, makes this the first 200-plus strikeout season of his career. The soon to be AL Cy-Young vote getter didn’t duplicate his dominant performance from last week, but a quality start and nine K’s make for a fine effort.

6th

With his 200-plus K season, Lucas Giolito became the sixth pitcher in franchise history to achieve this feat! The number of 200-plus K pitchers/convicted drug kingpins on this list remains at one, however.

Six feet

That’s how far Steve Stone’s loved ones would have buried him underground had this fifth inning foul ball off the bat of Twins batter Mitch Garver shot into the Sox TV broadcast booth a few inches lower than it did. Thankfully for him (and not so much for NBC Sports Chicago) the monitor just behind his noggin caught the brunt of the damage. Rob Manfred immediately called for the installation of nets to cover all broadcast booths.

.666

The game batting average for one Yolmer Sánchez, who went 2-3 and despite them only being singles, had the highest WPA of all Sox players for the game at .118. (The second single came with one out in the seventh inning, which was the only time the Sox had a man in scoring position with fewer than two out.) Naturally, Matt Skole pinch hit struck out and Leury lined out to Sano to end the last Sox offensive threat of the night.

Y-E-L-I-C-H

Let’s make up for the fact that the last stat was barely worth mentioning, but again, not much exciting happened in this game, one that mattered way more to the Twins than the Sox. So I will instead recognize the reigning NL MVP (and six-letter surnamed) Christian Yelich, who was involved in a one-sided twitter owning of some random troll. Yelly will be featured in ESPN’s The Body Issue and some of his tasteful nudes popped up on Twitter (sorry ladies and gents, no peeks at his Wonderbat) and some random Twitter-MAGAbot named @RoxaneJ77 who claimed to be sad in a now-protected tweet because Yelich “didn’t give a thought about all the kids that idolize him before doing his naked photo shoot.”

Yelich responded simply with a two-worded tweet: “Relax Roxane.”

But did our hero let bygones be bygones? NO, dear reader, he most certainly did not, and owned this troll into an early Twitter grave by doing this:

#RIPRoxane

Giolito, super neato: 4-0, Sox

Dodgeball: The White Sox ace alternated between knee-buckling changeups and steamroller heat. (@Chisox)


No question which starting pitcher dominated today.

That’s Cool Hand Lucas to you, sir.

Lucas Giolito was masterful today, from starting out by getting nemesis Max Kepler to pop up, to ending by striking out super-nemesis Nelson Cruz, Cool Hand Lucas separated the Twins from their bats all afternoon, giving the Chicago White Sox a 4-0 win and the rubber game of their three-game series at the Minnesota Twins.

Gioilito went all the way on 115 pitches, 82 of them strikes, 24 of those swing-and-misses. He struck out 12, walked none and gave up only a bunt single to Jorge Polanco in the first, a 117 mph line shot single to Cruz in the fourth and a double to Jonathan Schoop in the eighth. His fastball sat 94ish, going up as the game went on and hitting a top at 96.8 mph, and the changeup did just what it was supposed to do.

Lucas only needed one big defensive play, delivered by Adam Engel.

Engel gets the angle on Cruz’s 117 mph shot.

As for the offense — well, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. The hardest-hit balls of the day were by the Twins, and the hardest hit balls by the Sox only figured in one run, but gifts and seeing-eye dribblers and bloops were enough for the win.

The Sox scored two off Jake Odirizzi in the first on a Leury García single, an error by Jorge Polanco when he didn’t step on second on what should have been a Tim Anderson force out, a weak José Abreu grounder in the hole for a single, a wild pitch (one of three by Twins pitchers), and a Matt Skole excuse-me bloop to short right. The hardest-hit ball of the inning was an Eloy Jiménez double-play ball to end the inning.

The third run came in the third on consecutive singles by García, Anderson and Abreu, Abreu’s a pop-up that fell among three fielders. No. 4 involved the best of José’s three hits, a leadoff double in the fifth which led to him scoring on a wild pitch.

Anderson had two hits, keeping up his amazing recent streak, and Leury hit two singles as well. In true Sox fashion, the team did manage 11 Ks vs. two walks.

But the day belonged to Cool Hand Lucas, who ended it this way:

Nemesis de-nemesized.

The Sox now head home and start a four-game series against the Texas Rangers tomorrow night. Some sort of crazy amalgamation of Lauren Wilner and Leonard Gore prose, and Janice Scurio and Cat Garcia tweets, will provide the SSHP coverage.