To say White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito‘s 2018 season has been a rollercoaster thus far would be an understatement. Giolito, who turned 24 earlier this month, is an essential part of the rebuild.
His ceiling is very high, and it is a ceiling that the White Sox are relying on heavily to bring success back to the south side.
His display so far in the 2018 season is one that has put us Sox fans through multiple emotions.
Signs of big potential
Here’s the good news. Giolito has flashed signs of big potential on multiple occasions this year. There are some Giolito starts that just seem to be gold from the get-go. These are the days where the entire White Sox fanbase can exhale because it is clear that the talent is present.
Seeing him on these days may make it a bit harder to understand why his earned run average surpasses 6.00. As of July 31, Giolito’s ERA sits at 6.26. Hard to believe considering he has pitched so well at times this year.
Making sense of it all
What does this mean? It means he is performing at an unbelievably consistent level. Not to take away from the success that he has shown, but the fact that his numbers can be so poor even with these occasional gems indicate that his bad games are very bad. And that is absolutely correct.
Let’s take a look at Giolito’s numbers for the month of July. His first start came on July 3rd versus the Reds, where he lasted just five innings while surrendering seven runs. He improved dramatically in his next start, tossing 7.1 innings of two-run ball. His good fortunes didn’t stop there, as he tossed 6.1 scoreless versus Kansas City on July 15th.
His good fortunes ended there, as he has made two starts since that combine for 10.1 innings and eight runs. Those two starts came against the Angels and Blue Jays on July 23rd and 28th, respectively.
Why is this happening?
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Giolito’s poor performances in these games could be attributed to a different factor in each. Against the Angels, walks are what really did the damage. He lasted six innings and only surrendered five hits, but he walked four to go along with it. Half of his runs surrendered in that game were off of walks that he issued. Against Toronto, Giolito had his control down, but the Blue Jays bats had him down. He gave up nine hits in just 4.1 innings, including one home run that put the Sox down early.
What these two games indicate is that Giolito is having problems with multiple parts of his game. I believe the inconsistency comes with this because the problem seems to be he always has at least one part of his game working, but usually lacks another part. The flashes of potential, however, seem to come in games where he diminishes all of his problems and puts it all together.
I believe this is an experience issue. It is obvious that Giolito is learning to avoid certain problems, such as not getting himself into hittable counts, and throwing strikes. I believe the inconsistency that he has been plagued by this season will start to slowly disappear once he gets more starts under his belt.