Lucas Giolito Tosses First Chicago White Sox No-Hitter In Eight Seasons

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    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 25: Lucas Giolito #27 of the Chicago White Sox celebrates his no-hitter … [+] against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 25, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

    For the first no-hitter of the 2020 season, Lucas Giolito tossed one of the best games in White Sox history in close to a decade. Not since Philip Humber threw a perfect game in April 2012 has a south side pitcher looked so dominant on the mound.

    On Tuesday night, Giolito allowed only one Pirates baserunner — a 4th inning walk to Erik Gonzalez — and struck out 13 on his way to his first career no-hitter.

    Giolito needed only 101 pitches to get the necessary 27 outs, and he generated swings and misses on 30 of those pitches. That’s good enough for a new White Sox record in the pitch-tracking era; Chris Sale held the previous record at 29. The 30 whiffs were also the most in the pitch-tracking era since Nolan Ryan had 31 in 1990.

    The ascent for the 25-year-old Giolito has been quick, though his early results in the majors didn’t suggest that the dominance Giolito has displayed the last two seasons would come. Drafted by the Nationals in the first round in 2012, Giolito struggled when he debuted in Washington in 2016. Two years later and with the White Sox following a December 2016 trade, Giolito looked like a pitcher doomed to bust. He led the league in earned runs and walks that season on his way to a 6.13 ERA.

    But thanks to adjustments he made going into his 2019 campaign, Giolito made a quick turnaround, trimming his ERA in half and earning his first All-Star berth.

    « He’s come a really long way since 2018, » Engel said of Giolito. « That’s that happens when really talented guys don’t give up. »

    According to Giolito, the difference-maker from his 2018 to 2019 performance came down to adjustments he made to his mental game.

    “Last year, I was having a bunch of blow-up games. Having games where I’d lose control emotionally, mentally,” Giolito said in 2019. “Now I’ll be in a similar situation, and it’s like, ‘I’ve been here before, I’ve already done all that. That doesn’t help.’ Let me choose to go this other direction, where I got back to my breath, reset, focus on the next pitch.”

    Giolito also worked on his arm action during the 2018/2019 offseason to shorten it so that his misses would become smaller. For the pitcher who led the league in walks in 2018, that was a much-needed change. It helped him take his number of free passes from 90 in 2018 to 57 last year.

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 25: Lucas Giolito #27 of the Chicago White Sox celebrates his no-hitter … [+] against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 25, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

    Tuesday night in Chicago was the 19th time in White Sox history that a no-hitter was thrown and the fourth in the last 29 years.

    As in any no-hitter, there were a handful of defensive plays that helped make the difference, like the second out of the 7th inning when Tim Anderson fielded a tough grounder at short despite being shifted to the other side of second base and made the threw to Jose Abreu. Perhaps the biggest play came on the final out, when right fielder Adam Engel caught the Erik Gonzalez line drive that came off of his bat at 102.6 miles per hour and had an expected batting average of .850. Only Josh Bell’s lineout in the 4th inning came as close to being a hit.

    After a bumpy start in his 2020 debut on July 24, Giolito had since thrown four quality starts in six before Tuesday night’s no-hitter. Giolito’s next start should come on August 31 against the Twins.

    The White Sox have Giolito until he reaches unrestricted free agency in 2024. His first round of arbitration with the team comes this winter, and he will undoubtedly play a long-term role in the final stages of the White Sox rebuild. The team’s estimated 2020 payroll of just over $130 million leaves ample room for keeping Giolito in the starting rotation beyond his arbitration years.

    I have covered baseball for several years at places like Sporting News, Chicago Magazine, and NBC Chicago, along with Forbes. First year BBWAA member in 2019. Follow me

    I have covered baseball for several years at places like Sporting News, Chicago Magazine, and NBC Chicago, along with Forbes. First year BBWAA member in 2019. Follow me on Twitter: @jwyllys.


    SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com

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