Shades of 2018: White Sox’ Lucas Giolito can’t fix control on the fly, gets KO’d by Cubs
Giolito was heading into the fifth inning — and into the All-Star Game — on a very nice roll. And then it unraveled quickly.
White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito was heading into the fifth inning Saturday — and into the All-Star Game on Tuesday — on a very nice roll.
And then, just like that, facing the bottom third of the Cubs’ lineup Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field, he turned into the 2018 version of himself by walking Robel Garcia, David Bote and Addison Russell to open the fifth. A cue-shot double to left by Kyle Schwarber scored two runs — Schwarber looked up and around, thinking he had fouled the ball off in another direction — and a sharply hit double down the third-base line by Javy Baez scored two more, ending Giolito’s night and his otherwise-splendid first half on a bad note.
The first eight batters in the Cubs’ five-run fifth reached base, helping them to a 6-3 victory before a crowd of 38,634, the Sox’ fourth sellout of the season.
Giolito was flying open with his front side, knew he was doing it but couldn’t stop it from happening.
‘‘That’s what happened,’’ he said.
After allowing six runs and three home runs in 4„ innings June 19 against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Giolito served up another six runs to the North Siders three starts later.
Giolito (11-3) failed to get an out in the helter-skelter fifth, allowing a season-high five walks in four-plus innings to go with four hits.
‘‘My slider got away from me,’’ he said. ‘‘I didn’t throw any quality sliders that inning. Just got out of sync and didn’t make a correction at all.’’
It was a scene reminiscent of last season, when Giolito led all qualified pitchers in walks per nine innings and ERA.
‘‘I’m not worried about, like, my year or anything,’’ said Giolito, who has a 7.11 ERA in his last four starts, raising his overall ERA from 2.24 to 3.15. ‘‘I’m very frustrated with this game, clearly. The loss is on me. It’s all on me. It was one inning. . . . They took advantage. I walked three and [allowed] a little base hit over the third baseman’s head. That’s it.’’
In the three innings leading up to that fateful fifth, Giolito — who got 21 swinging strikes on 87-pitch night — was crisp.
After left fielder Eloy Jimenez lost a soft looper by Kris Bryant in the sun, allowing the ball to fall in front of him for an RBI single in the first, Giolito retired 10 of the next 12 batters he faced by commanding his changeup well and spotting his fastball up in the strike zone.
The Sox (41-44) got two doubles and an RBI from Yoan Moncada, who extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games, and two hits and two RBI from Jose Abreu. With the Sox trailing 6-3 in the ninth, Abreu batted with two on and two outs against Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel.
‘‘I was looking to hit a home run,’’ he said.
Instead, Abreu struck out on a wild pitch to end the game. He didn’t immediately know where the ball was and didn’t run right away on the dropped third strike, but Cubs catcher Willson Contreras’ throw got him by plenty.
Manager Rick Renteria said he was OK with Abreu’s effort.
But Giolito, a picture of frustration sitting alone at his locker well after talking with the media, wasn’t OK with his outing.
‘‘You walk the bases loaded with zero outs, and you’re inviting some bad stuff to happen,’’ he said.