Lucas Giolito was in vintage form Wednesday afternoon vs. the Minnesota Twins. The tall right-hander rediscovered whatever was missing and recorded a season-high in strikeouts. He seemed to get better as the afternoon wore on as the Chicago White Sox needed him really badly.
The Chicago White Sox really needs Lucas Giolito to be the best that he can be.
Giolito entered the game with a 4.97 ERA and had struggled to go deep into games. It looked as if it would be another long afternoon when he walked the first batter he faced and then allowed a one-out single.
His command was spotty early in the ballgame. He also walked the leadoff man in the second inning. However, he settled in and was able to work around the traffic he faced early on. The only blemish the rest of the way was a solo home run in the third off the bat of Nelson Cruz.
Giolito retired the next seven batters he faced after that. He began getting ahead in the count and attacking hitters. His changeup was lethal all afternoon. In his career against the Minnesota Twins, he has only allowed six hits off of his changeup. That trend of dominance continued. On this afternoon, he would only allow two hits on any type of pitch.
Giolito recorded nine strikeouts via the changeup. That’s a game total only bested by any MLB pitcher once in the last five years. The way he set up his changeup is what made him virtually unhittable all afternoon.
Luis Arraez, who rarely strikes out, fell victim to an elevated changeup. Giolito buckled Miguel Sano at the knees throwing a 86 mph slider for a called strike then, coming back with an 82 mph hour changeup inside for a backward K. Sano was frozen in the box.
Trevor Larnach fouled off a 94 mph fastball for strike two then swung through an 82 mph change up in the exact same location. He punched out Ben Rortvedt on three consecutive changeups. The first two were on the inner half of the zone and the dagger was low and away. Rortverd swung and missed at all three.
"“I needed this one today that’s for sure”, Giolito told Jason Benetti and Steve Stone after the game. “It feels good. I was able to find my rhythm, and it actually was kind of later in the game. Zack was fantastic back there today.”"
Giolito entered the eighth inning with 98 pitches. Tony La Russa let him head back out for another inning. Giolito justifed his decsion. It only took him 13 pitches to get through it. He struck out Kyle Garlick, got Josh Donaldson to ground out, then got Luis Arraez to line out to Tim Anderson. Giolito returned to the dugout and was met with high fives from his teammates.
His final line was 8 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, and 11 strikeouts. Those are the ace-like numbers the White Sox are accustom to when Gioliot takes the hill. Liam Hendriks slammed the door in the ninth and Giolito earned his third win of the season. This start could serve as a turning point for him the rest of the season. Get excited White Sox fans, Lucas Giolito is back.