CHICAGO – Most of these of games are reserved for spring training or maybe just before a playoff series if there is a long gap between games.
But 2020 warrants that intrasquad scrimmages take on quite a bit more importance with the condensed season.
With just three weeks to ramp up for a shortened 60-game campaign, pitchers like Lucas Giolito put more emphasis on contests like those that occurred on Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“The season’s right around the corner,” said Giolito. “We’re like a week-and-a-half away.”
So there’s a little more urgency for Giolito along with other pitchers to get quality work in during these scrimmages that have been happening at times in White Sox camp. The White Sox host the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, July 24th, so there’s little time to waste for a potential Opening Day starter.
He put in four innings on Monday, and he tried to make his focus like it would be in his first start in 2020.
“I’m trying to go out there, and to the best of my ability, treat it like a big league start during the regular season,” said Giolito. “You have to prepare for that if you want to be successful in those situations. So even though I’m facing a bunch of teammates I’m going out there and trying to make pitches like I would in a regular season game.”
That would be a good thing for Giolito, who emerged as the White Sox top pitcher during a breakthrough 2019 season. He won seven-straight games in May and June, made his first All-Star Game, and finished 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA.
He’s not been announced as the Opening Day starter yet, but he remains a candidate on a young staff which much is expected. Even with Michael Kopech deciding not to play in 2020, Giolito will pitch in a rotation with Dallas Keuchel, Reynaldo Lopez, Dylan Cease, and Gio Gonzalez.
Carlos Rodon could find his way into a six-man rotation, too, so Giolito’s encouraged by what could be with the staff in a quick two-month season.
“I’ve been liking what I’ve been seeing from all of the starters. Filling up the zone, attacking hitters, that’s what we’re going to have to do to get deep into games and give our team the best chance to win each time out.
“I think we’re all on top of our work on the side as well. We’re communicating, we’re giving each other information. So I love it, we’re right where we need to be.”
Even if they way they’d ramp up for the season – with a lot of games against their own team – isn’t what they’d like them to be.