White Sox manager Rick Renteria has used a different kind of measuring stick to evaluate his rebuilding team this season.
It works with the scoreboard turned off.
“Take away the scoreboard, and if you walked in and watched a game based on how they’re playing between the lines, you wouldn’t know who’s winning or losing,” he said.
It’s a measuring stick marked by energy, hustle and enthusiasm.
Based on that, Renteria believes his team has measured up well.
“I think we’ve done a decent job of maintaining a high energy level on a day-to-day basis,’’ he said Sunday. “I think everyone, as a whole, has continued to perform. They’re learning from their mistakes. And I think for the most part, we’ve done OK.”
Next season, when the Sox’ young talent will be charged with taking more control of their destiny, the bar will be raised. And that suits the players just fine.
“Having all the young talent working together and building together is really fun,” starting pitcher Lucas Giolito said. “I’m looking forward to the future.”
Giolito is one of the players who’s making the future look bright. He turned in a masterful performance against the Rays in the Sox’ 6-2 victory at Guaranteed Rate Field.
He had 10 strikeouts in seven innings. He allowed only three hits, including a solo home run by Lucas Duda in the third that was the only run he allowed.
Giolito (2-1) is the first Sox pitcher since Chris Sale to have double-digit strikeouts within his first three career starts, a comparison that’s hard to beat.
“He showed great signs today,” infielder Tim Anderson said. “He had great stuff. He was dominant.”
Anderson was part of the offense behind Giolito, going 3-for-4 with his 15th home run, a double and three RBI. Jose Abreu returned to the lineup from an elbow injury and hit his 27th home run in his first at-bat as the Sox won their third consecutive home series.
But this game was more about Giolito, who’s 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA and 14 strikeouts in his last two starts.
“He threw very, very well,” Renteria said. “Riding his fastball, using his changeup really effectively, the breaking ball mixed in. I thought he attacked hitters, just going right after them.
“They were taking some very uncomfortable swings, it seemed, so there must be obviously some deception to his delivery. The ball comes out of his hand pretty good, and it’s getting on top of those hitters. The 91 or 92 mph fastball looks like 95 or 96 to them.”
The Rays put their leadoff man on in only the sixth, the same inning Giolito issued his only walk. But groundouts prevented any scoring. Giolito came back in the seventh and struck out the side.
Renteria admitted being “tempted” to let his rookie pitch the eighth.
“I think he did a really nice job of getting us through seven, and we got him over 100 pitches .”
Giolito is finding a comfort zone, as well.
“Knowing that I’m here and I’m not going anywhere, and I get to work on what I need to work on without having to worry ‘Am I going to be sent down,’ I’m much more relaxed,” he said. “I’m really enjoying it so far.”
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