All the White Sox need to do is stay healthy in September.
They were having a hard time of it on the last day of August.
On the same day All-Star right-hander Lance Lynn landed on the injured list to rest a sore knee and shortstop Tim Anderson was given yet another day off to rest his sore legs, righty Lucas Giolito tweaked his left hamstring in the Sox’ 4-2 victory against the Pirates on Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Giolito left with hamstring tightness, the Sox announced, and will be re-evaluated Wednesday. A bail-out from Ryan Tepera, perfect innings from Michael Kopech (4-2), Aaron Bummer and Craig Kimbrel (with an assist from Luis Robert’s lay-out catch) and Liam Hendriks’ 30th save nailed down a win the Sox would gladly give back if it has long-term ramifications for Giolito, who has been at his best in recent weeks.
“I pulled my hammy a little bit,” Giolito said. “It reminded me of when I pulled my hammy in 2019, but the sensation [this time] wasn’t as intense and painful. That’s why I wanted to keep going and see how it felt, but it didn’t want to hold strong, so that’s why I came out.”
It took two visits from trainer James Kruk, manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Ethan Katz before Giolito exited with one out in the fifth inning and the Sox leading 2-0. By the time the inning — completed by Tepera — was over, the Pirates had tied the score.
More significant, Giolito was on his way to the trainer’s room. He was charged with two runs and three hits and walked four. Of his 86 pitches (50 strikes), two were wild pitches.
“We’ll get it really checked and do whatever we have to do,” La Russa said.
La Russa said he wasn’t sure if Giolito would miss his next turn, but it’s difficult to imagine him not missing a beat.
“It’s too soon, but we’re taking it serious, obviously,” La Russa said.
Giolito went on the 10-day injured list early in the season in 2019. He issued a best-case scenario Tuesday.
“I can’t see it being very long,” Giolito said. “We’ll get it looked at [Wednesday] and go from there. Not feeling as painful as 2019 gives me confidence it won’t be serious, and I’ll come back pretty soon.”
With a 10-game lead over the Indians in the American League Central, the Sox’ primary ambition should be staying healthy in the last month of the regular season. While Lynn’s stint on the IL is expected to cause him to miss only one start, a hamstring potentially could cause Giolito to miss more than that.
Giolito (3.69 ERA) has been rounding closer into his 2019 All-Star form. In his previous nine starts, he was 3-3 with a 2.77 ERA, allowing two earned runs or fewer in eight of those games.
In the fifth, Giolito moved toward the plate to field Ben Gamel’s tapper and seemed to slip slightly before throwing to first, although he said he didn’t feel the tightness until a couple of pitches later.
Giolito insisted he was fine, but he threw a wild pitch and another close to Wilmer Difo’s chin. On the second visit from Kruk and company, Giolito took one warmup toss, winced and called it a game.
With that, Tepera entered and completed a walk to Difo, which was charged to Giolito. Colin Moran singled to drive in the tying run.
The Sox led 2-0 on opposite-field home runs by Yasmani Grandal and Jose Abreu off Bryse Wilson.
Pirates left-hander Chasen Shreve walked Brian Goodwin with the bases full in the sixth, the run charged to Wilson, and gave up a sacrifice fly to Leury Garcia.