CLEVELAND – As the White Sox look forward to their rotation of the future, there are a number of questions.
Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodon’s futures are a bit cloudy because of serious injuries – with the former having Tommy John surgery and the latter perhaps heading there. Dylan Cease is up to Triple-A, with the club wondering if his great performance in the minor leagues can continue in the majors.
Then there are others like Lucas Giolito – a starter at the MLB level whose future can be a bit tough to determine. There are moments where he looks like a front line starter, while others question whether he can find the consistency to be a major factor as the White Sox rebuild continues.
Tuesday provided another positive moment for Giolito – and arguably the most encouraging outing of his still young career with the team.
In a season-high 7 1/3 innings, the right-handed starter kept the Indians off the scoreboard while scattering just three hits. He struck out eight batters while walking just three in 105 pitches in a 2-0 White Sox victory in Cleveland on Tuesday night.
The outing ties the starters’ longest outing with the White Sox, which he also had against Houston on July 8, 2018. It’s the second start for Giolito after his hamstring injury kept him out for about two weeks, and improve his overall record to 3-1 with a 4.06 ERA.
It continues an unusual season for the pitcher, who has had both outstanding and lackluster efforts over the course of a month-and-a-half. Giolito started the year by taking a no-hitter into the seventh against the Royals on March 31st, but followed that up by allowing five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Mariners.
On April 12th, he allowed four earned runs in five innings against the Yankees, but appeared ready to rebound on April 17th when he started with 2 2/3 scoreless innings against the Royals. Giolito left with a hamstring injury, and didn’t return until May 2nd against the Red Sox, where he allowed three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts compared to three walks
But Tuesday’s effort topped them all, even after Giolito allowed a hit to Francisco Lindor to start the game. Only one runner got to third when he was in the game, and after registering the first out in the eighth, he was pulled after the strong effort.
Yoan Moncada and James McCann’s RBI singles to left brought in the only runs of the day, but it almost wasn’t enough after Giolito left. Jace Fry loaded the bases and force Alex Colome into the game with two outs, but his strikeout of Carlos Santana ended the inning.
He then proceeded to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth to give the victory to Giolito, who enjoyed his finest game of 2019 so far.