Lucas Giolito made two critical mistakes Saturday.
He left a fastball up and over the middle to Nick Castellanos in the third inning that landed in the right-field bullpen. Then he hung a slider to Castellanos in the fifth that became a souvenir 405 feet away in left field.
Two pitches, five runs allowed.
The offense rallied but the White Sox never took the lead in a 7-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“I felt like I was commanding some pitches today,” Giolito said. “Doing a better job getting ahead of hitters. He was locked in on me and I left some balls up to him. Can’t do that to a good hitter.”
In both innings Giolito retired the first two batters before issuing a walk and letting the momentum slip. Getting that last out, along with some serious command -issues, have plagued Giolito this season.
“Two-out walks are tough,” manager Rick Renteria said. “You can’t combat that. You can defend balls that are struck, but walks are difficult to combat. He did everything he could to try to minimize the damage along the way.”
The five-run, 5„-inning effort swelled Giolito’s ERA to 7.19. He entered the game ranked last among major leaguers in ERA and strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s also last in the American League with 47 walks.
Giolito has allowed a home run in four of his last five starts and is 1-4 with an 11.05 ERA in seven home starts. He’s 4-7 overall.
Renteria said Giolito is showing signs of improvement, though, pointing specifically at his ability to “grind” even when he’s not sharp. That’s an intangible, Renteria said, that will serve Giolito well as his development continues.
“He tries to focus, he tries to compartmentalize everything he does when he’s on the mound,” Renteria said. “If things are going good or bad he tries to focus on pitch to pitch, which is really important. It’s not always going to go well for any pitcher, but he seems to be able to continue to regroup and get himself through games even when he’s having a tough time.
“As he continues to settle down with his stuff and command, combine that with that mindset and ability to grind, it puts him in a pretty good place.”
So two mistakes to Castellanos aside, there was some upside for the 23-year-old right-hander.
Giolito retired the Tigers in order in the first inning and bounced back from a leadoff single in the second to put down the next three hitters.
Then, as if to prove Renteria’s point about coming back strong after bad innings, Giolito put the Tigers down in order in the fourth — with two strikeouts — after Castellanos’ first home run.
He threw his curveball for strikes and said he’s got a good feel for his changeup, even though he didn’t go to it much Saturday.
“Two bad pitches to a really good hitter kind of did me in for the game right there,” he said. “Just got to lock in a little bit more.”
Down 5-0, the White Sox made a concerted comeback effort against Jordan Zimmermann, who was perfect through four innings. The Sox led off a four-run fifth with four consecutive hits, and Yolmer Sanchez scored to tie the game after his MLB-leading eighth triple in the fifth.
The Tigers loaded the bases in the eighth and scored two runs, one each off Jace Fry and Bruce Rondon.