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How White Sox pitchers Jace Fry, Lucas Giolito can learn from weekend outings

Every game gives a young member of the White Sox’ staff a chance to learn something. The lessons can be harsh and damaging to their statistics, but hopefully they’ll prove to be valuable as they move forward in their careers.

Over the weekend, reliever Jace Fry and starter Lucas Giolito took their educational turns.

Fry, who has been a surprising bright spot this season, entered the ninth inning of Sunday’s game with the Sox leading 3-2. After the trade of Joakim Soria to the Brewers, Fry, who figures to get opportunities to close games, was called on to lock up a deserved win for Carlos Rodon.

But it didn’t go well for the 25-year-old lefty. He allowed Teoscar Hernandez’s game-tying home run, hit Kendrys Morales and allowed Aledmys Diaz’s double before manager Rick Renteria removed him.

Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Jace Fry (57) works the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers in a baseball game Sunday, July 1, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)

“I think that he’s one of those kids that that’s not going to affect him,” Renteria said. “He’s going to learn from [Sunday’s] outing, knowing him. It was a good test for him, and it didn’t work out. But he certainly has, I think, the stuff to be able to do it.”

Renteria made it clear what Fry can improve on after his debacle.

“You come in, you’ve got to command the zone,” Renteria said. “You just can’t come in and throw the ball. You pitch.”

Fry, who was charged with three earned runs, saw his ERA jump from 3.66 to 4.50. His streak of five scoreless appearances was snapped, and the blown save was his first of the season. And to make matters worse, after the home run, Fry was unable to regain control in what turned into a five-run inning and 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays. Instead of keeping the game tied, he opened the door to a big inning by hitting Morales, something Renteria pointed to.

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That experience won’t be in vain if Fry takes advantage of more chances in the ninth, and does so after drawing something educational from the loss.

“Absolutely. I’m going to take advantage of it and keep moving forward,” Fry said. “Like Ricky said, I’m going to learn from it and hopefully he keeps throwing me out there and keeps giving me opportunities because it’s what we all want to do.”

On Saturday, Giolito lasted only 4⅓ innings but threw 94 pitches. Unlike other outings that have been marred by wildness, Giolito handed out just one walk. The issue during his five-run, nine-hit outing was an inability to finish at-bats and retire Blue Jays hitters.

That’s something he has to learn how to do.

“You have to figure out a way to end up being able to induce either the contact for the out or get a swing and miss,” Renteria said. “I think that experience [Saturday], that’s what you’re facing, guys that grind out at-bats. You’ve got to figure out how to get them off of you, and I think [Saturday] was just a great experience for him to go through, to be honest, and let him continue to evolve.”

Giolito also saw some educational value from his outing.

“I have confidence in all my pitches and throwing the ball over the plate,” Giolito said. “It’s just a few things here and there I need to clean up, especially pitch smarter. Getting a little too much of the plate, especially two strikes. Letting them work these kind of deep counts where I’m throwing eight- to-10-pitch at-bats. As a starting pitcher, I want to go six or more innings. I didn’t do my job tonight, but a lot to learn from.”