It was clear from the very first pitch of the night that Chicago White Sox ace Lucas Giolito was locked in. The death stare and tunnel vision that Giolito had on display Thursday night has shown the maturity of the still somewhat young pitcher.
Giolito was chosen as the Opening Day starter for the second time in his career as the Sox started their 2021 campaign off against the Los Angeles Angels. It was a late night for those of us in the midwest but Giolito made it worthwhile.
Giolito is firmly in the discussions to win the AL Cy Young this year and his performance in this game showed us exactly why. He threw 87 pitches in 5.1 innings, giving up 2 runs on 2 hits. He also struck out eight batters including a fantastic strikeout on Mike Trout in the first inning.
Giolito started off the game striking out the side and four of his first five batters faced. His changeup was really strong over this first portion of the game and was the wipeout pitch for the first four strikeouts. Giolito’s changeup can certainly be deadly but it had some great movement early on as well.
Overall, Giolito was on fire over the first four innings. He retired the first 11 batters he faced and had already compiled six of his eight strikeouts over that period. He came back down to Earth with back-to-back walks of Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon.
After a brief mound visit, Trout would come around to score from second base after a Justin Upton single. This was also the first hit Gio had given up but the Sox were able to get out of the inning with a 1-1 tie.
After getting a couple of insurance runs, Giolito came out for the fifth inning with a 3-1 lead. That lead would quickly become 3-2 after giving up a home run before striking out the next two batters to end the inning and bring his strikeout total to eight.
Giolito would come out to start the sixth and get one more out before being pulled. He certainly pitched good enough to get the win on Thursday night but that would not be the case due to an eighth-inning collapse as the White Sox lose their first game of 2021.