Lucas Giolito re-invented his game ahead of the 2019 season, and it led to an All Star Game appearance. What would he do for an encore?
Well, his Opening Day start didn’t inspire much confidence, but he has rebounded since then, and his redemption story reached an apex Tuesday night on the South Side, as he tossed a no-hitter, the first of his career, and the 19th in White Sox franchise history. That total ranks 2nd among all franchises in MLB history, behind the Dodgers’ 22 no-no’s.
Lucas Giolito. The Sox ace only needed 101 pitches to shut down the Pirates offense, 74 of them for strikes. He faced one batter over the minimum, a lead-off walk to start the 4th inning. He threw 20 first-pitch strikes to the 28 batters he faced, and he tied a career-high with 13 punch-outs. In other words, it was complete, and total domination.
The defense. You can’t throw a no-hitter without air-tight defense behind you. And on this night, the at-times shaky Sox defense made all the plays. Tim Anderson ranged to his right in the seventh while the Sox had a shift on and threw to Jose Abreu at 1st, who deftly scooped the ball out of the dirt in time for the out. And Adam Engel snared a sinking line drive for the final out in the 9th to seal the no-no.
James McCann. Giolito and McCann have worked so well together since the start of 2019, that Giolito might as well ask to have McCann as his personal catcher going forward. Giolito only shook McCann off once all night, and the pair found a good rhythm, which kept Giolito working efficiently. McCann also pitched in offensively, driving in a run with a sacrifice fly (BREAKING NEWS: The Sox scored a run without hitting a home run!), and added another base hit.
Manufacturing runs. The Sox scored four runs Tuesday (which was plenty the way Giolito was throwing), and not a single one of them came via the long ball. In the third, they scored three runs on three hits, and only one of those base hits left the infield. They were also helped by a hit-by-pitch and a walk in the frame. It could have been a bigger inning, as they had the bases loaded with no one out, and even after the RBI ground-out by Engel, as Abreu grounded into a double-play. This is a good sign, that they can manufacture runs, as they’ll need to in games where they don’t have their power stroke going.
Power outage. And I’m not talking about the lack of dingers this time. A brief power surge knocked out the TV truck, keeping fans from watching on TV for a couple of innings. Fortunately, it didn’t knock out the power to the entire stadium, as the lights stayed on and the game was able to continue uninterrupted.
The Sox will try to follow that up tomorrow in the final game of this brief two-game set against the Pirates with Dallas Keuchel getting the ball for the Sox. That could be fun too! Tune in to find out!