It sounded like a sure hit, 102 mph howler. Indeed, he had an 85% chance of hitting, the highest of all balls in play of hitting Giolito in the match. But right fielder Adam Engel was shady in and out of the line. He read the game well and snatched the ball from the top of his shoes to finish the first scorer of the season and the 19th in White Sox history.
“There’s always one in a no-hitter,” Giolito said. “I guess it was that one. ”
He was the most dominant no-hitter in White Sox history – and that says a lot because only the Dodgers threw more. Giolito finished with 13 strikeouts, making him the first White Sox pitcher to record double-digit strikeouts on a no-hitting goal. His game score of 99 is the highest in franchise history for a nine-inning game, and the highest since Wilbur Wood rolled a 99 while throwing an 11-innings shutout in 1974.
Before this final, shortstop Tim Anderson preserved the no-hitter at the start of the seventh with a nice play on Bryan Reynolds’ two-hopper in the middle. Shifted to the right side of second base for left-hander Reynolds, Anderson came back to the shortstop side of the sack and made a nice unbalanced throw to nip the quick Reynolds, with first baseman Jose Abreu digging the ball out of the dirt.
After the third out of this inning, Giolito admitted that’s when he started to think about a non-hitter. “After the seventh, okay, there are six strikeouts left. Looking at who I was facing, it became very, very possible, ”he said.
Despite all the strikeouts, his pitch count remained low and was not a factor. Giolito paid tribute to wide receiver James McCann, saying he only rocked McCann once all night. Working quickly, Giolito cleared eighth with two strikeouts and a popup foul at first base. He fell behind Jarrod Dyson starting ninth with two balls but then got three strikes, two of which swaying on his change. Jose Osuna fouled the right court on a 1-2 cursor, then Gonzalez swung and missed two cursors before Giolito tried to pass him a fastball.
Of course, there were no fans at the guaranteed rate field to cheer on Giolito. “They increased the noise from the crowd,” he said with a laugh during a post-game interview with MLB Network. “It was like every round, the noise of the crowd was getting louder. By the ninth round, the noise of the crowd had gone crazy. It was as if there were 35,000 people here. “
Lucas Giolito forces Erik Gonzalez to line up on the right pitch to finish off his no-hitter as the White Sox beat the Pirates 4-0.
There were a lot of swings and misses in this game for Giolito. He has recorded 30, the second most no-hitting since 1990 (Nolan Ryan had 31) and the most by a White Sox pitcher in any match in the pitch follow era (since 1988 ), exceeding Chris Sale’s 29.
As Jeff Passan tweeted, “Lucas Giolito is a baaaaaad man”. Do you want to face him in the first game of a best-of-three series? After allowing seven points on opening day, he’s 3-2 with a 3.09 ERA, with 58 strikeouts in 43 innings and a .180 batting average allowed.
He’s had a good turnaround since 2018. It was his first full season in the majors, his second with the White Sox since coming from the Nationals to trading Adam Eaton, and it wasn’t a great season. Giolito finished 10-13 with a 6.13 ERA, the worst ERA in qualifying. He allowed the most deserved runs and most walks in the American League, hit 15 batters and averaged 6.5 strikeouts per nine innings. For a pitcher some analysts once considered the best prospect to pitch in minors, it’s been a disappointing season, with the kind of results that can ruin a young pitcher.
But Giolito came back in 2019 much stronger and throwing harder – and that seemed to give him a lot more confidence. Its four-seam averaged 92.4 mph in 2018, but hit 94.2 in 2019, with a higher turnover rate as well. Opponents rocked all four couturiers in 2018, with a 0.524 stroke percentage, but only reached 0.203 with a .364 stroke percentage in 2019. Giolito was part of the All-Star squad and finished 14-9 with a 3.41 last season. Its withdrawal rate fell from 6.5 for nine to 11.6.
He also made a few other key tweaks. He dropped his lead and started to throw his changeup a lot more. This pitch was effective for him in 2018, but he increased his usage from 15.7% to 26.2%. It launches even more in 2020: 34.4% of the time. In some ways, change is its best case. He still has a wipeout he uses to tidy up right-handed hitters, but the change makes his fastball even better.
In an interview with MLB Network on Monday, Giolito said he learned the change by readjusting to Tommy John’s surgery and having fun with different grips after the Nationals drafted him in 2012. Giolito fell down 16th overall pick because of that injury, but after a big season with A-ball in 2014, he became a top prospect and made his debut for the Nationals in 2016. Although he struggled during From that first stint in the big league, it was a surprise when the club included it in the Eaton deal.
Obviously, the deal worked for the Nationals, with Eaton playing an important role in their World Series championship. The deal worked very well for the White Sox as well.