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Lucas Giolito makes major improvement

The White Sox' Jose Abreu scores past Angels catcher Martin Maldonado off a double by Nicky Delmonico during the fourth inning Wednesday. | Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

In a smaller sample size, Lucas Giolito put up better numbers in the majors than he did at Class AAA Charlotte. The right-hander wanted to test his game one more time before the sun set on the 2017 season against the defending AL champion Indians in the season-ending series in Cleveland, but the Sox shut him down at 174 innings between the minors and big club.

Giolito posted a 2.38 ERA in 45⅓ innings with the Sox after pitching to a 4.48 ERA in 128⅔ innings at Charlotte, a significant difference and better at the tougher level.

So how does that happen?

Manager Rick Renteria’s explanation was that Giolito “rose to the occasion.”

“Some guys get to higher levels and they continue to excel,’’ Renteria said. “It’s a bit more challenging. It’s like a child who’s going to school and is in the second grade and he’s probably got a sixth-grade mentality and he’s thinking, ‘I’m wasting my time here.’ And when he gets up to somewhere where he’s able to share how advanced he is, he’s OK, he excels.’’

Wait till next spring

James Shields, who pitched his last game Monday, a strong seven-inning outing in which he gave up two runs in a 4-2 win over the Angels, wasn’t fully committed to taking his lowered, three-quarter arm angle into spring training. But it seems he might.

“We’ll see,’’ Shields said. “I’ll make some assessments in the offseason and see how that works out, see how my body is feeling. Over the last month and a half, it seems to be working out. We’ll see how it goes.’’

Shields, 35, missed two months during the first half of the season with a strained right lat. He also has had bothersome knees and was slated to have PRP (platelet-rich plasma) shots in each one. He gave up three earned runs or fewer in seven of his final 10 starts.

Shields isn’t much of a fit for a rebuilding franchise, but he’s under contract for big money through next season, so his improved performance (4.33 ERA in August and September) has been a plus. He will earn $21 million in 2018, $10 million of which will be paid by the Padres, who received blossoming shortstop prospect Fernando Tatis in the trade for Shields in June 2016.

Davidson ailing

Matt Davidson was out of the lineup for a second day in a row with minor upper respiratory congestion but was able to pinch-hit, Renteria said. Davidson changed medication for the problem and appeared to be on the mend.

“Hopefully by [Thursday] he’ll be good,’’ Renteria said.

Who’s pitching?

Friday’s starter against the Indians in Cleveland was still TBA.

“We’re still working on that,’’ Renteria said. “Could be a bullpen day.”

Carson Fulmer and Chris Volstad are scheduled for the final two games of the season Saturday and Sunday.

Abreu, by the numbers

Jose Abreu needed three homers and five RBI to match his career highs of 36 and 107 set during his rookie season of 2014.

Abreu’s five multihomer games (his fifth was Tuesday) are tied for the second-most in a season by a Sox player behind Paul Konerko (six in 2006).

Also with five: Roy Sievers in 1961, Ron Kittle in 1985, Albert Belle in 1998, Magglio Ordonez in 2002 and Konerko in 2004.

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Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

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