Luc longly: Twins go deep 3 times in Giolito’s White Sox debut
Lucas Giolito allowed four runs in six innings in his White Sox debut Tuesday, nothing to celebrate after a 4-1 loss to the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.
He was pleased that he didn’t walk anyone, though, and that he got through six innings without an effective curveball.
If he took anything away from his 99-pitch body of work before 14,053 fans, it was the reminder that mistakes in the major leagues will be paid for.
“All three homers were fastballs,’’ Giolito said of Jorge Polanco’s 408-foot leadoff shot in the fourth inning, Kennys Vargas’ 411-foot bomb to right-center leading off the fifth and Eddie Rosario’s two-run, 409-footer to left-center in the sixth.
“On all three, I was trying to go in, and I missed right over the middle, and guys are going to hit it a long way if you miss your spot. That’s going to happen.’’
And that was the story of Giolito’s first game in a Sox uniform. Enough things working well to make him believe he belongs and enough bad to remind him there’s little margin for error at the major-league level.
“I feel like I belong,’’ he said. “I feel like my stuff plays.’’
The Sox unveiled the 6-6 right-hander, the No. 6 prospect in the organization and No. 59 in baseball, according to MLB.com, after introducing Reynaldo Lopez a week and a half ago. Both were acquired in the trade with the Nationals for Adam Eaton. Both are pictured manning a couple of spots in the 2018 rotation behind Carlos Rodon.
To Giolito’s credit, he gathered himself after each homer and finished those innings well. He allowed four runs and six hits, walked none and struck out four.
“Excellent,” is how manager Rick Renteria summed him up. “I thought it was a very positive outing. Lucas threw the ball very, very well.’’
Giolito, who had a humbling 6.75 ERA in four starts and two relief appearances with the Nationals last season, was 6-10 with a 4.48 ERA at Charlotte. His ERA in his last five starts was 1.71, and he looked poised and relaxed from the get-go, even though he hit leadoff man Brian Dozier. He opened with three scoreless innings.
“Last year during my time in the big leagues, the game would speed up on me a lot,’’ he said. “I’d walk a guy, give up a couple of hits and start to kind of get out of control. Tonight, I felt under control. I was able to trust my stuff — it was just those mistakes.
“I’m happy I didn’t walk anyone tonight. I was able to command the fastball pretty well, but fastball-changeup was pretty much all I had.’’
Giolito got through it by commanding his fastball on both sides of the plate and spotting it up and down in the strike zone. The problem was those three he left in the middle of the plate.
“A couple of mistakes got us,’’ catcher Omar Narvaez said. “[But] I think he’s going to be one of our best pitchers.’’
‘‘Because his [93 mph] fastball is kind of sneaky, and he has a great changeup,’’ Narvaez said. ‘‘He uses it whenever he wants to, and he has a really, really good curveball.’’
The Sox (48-76) had two big opportunities to give Giolito early run support but failed.
After Yoan Moncada, who doubled his first two times up against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, scored on a wild pitch in the first inning, the Sox loaded the bases with one out in the second and with no outs in the third but did not score as Gibson (seven innings, one run, eight strikeouts) struck out Avisail Garcia, Yolmer Sanchez and Tim Anderson in order in the third.
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