GLENDALE, Ariz. – Having had the honor in the shortened 2020 season and the team’s first playoff game in 12 years last September, it seemed that Tony La Russa’s decision for his first starter of 2021 was a formality.
On Monday, the manager made it official.
Lucas Giolito will be the White Sox starting pitcher when the open the 2021 season on Thursday, April 1st against the Angels in Anaheim at 9:05 PM CST. It marks the second-straight year that he’ll get the ball for the team’s first game of the year, having started the opener on July 24th, 2020 against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.
He will be followed in the rotation by veterans Dallas Keuchel and Lance Lynn, with the rest of the rotation to be decided closer to the season.
Entering his fifth year with the White Sox and sixth in Major League Baseball, Giolito is the ace of the team’s staff after establishing himself the previous two seasons. After a difficult 2018 season, the starter made the AL All-Star team with a 14-9 record and a 3.41 ERA in 29 starts.
In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he was 4-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts, including his first major league no-hitter against the Pirates on August 25th at Guaranteed Rate Field. On September 29th, Giolito pitched a gem against the Athletics in Game 1 of the AL Wild Card series in Oakland.
Starting the club’s first playoff game in 12 seasons, he took a perfect game into the seventh inning and worked into the eighth, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out eight in a 4-1 win.