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Heater, change a lethal 1-2 punch for Giolito

White Sox starter goes 7 1/3 brilliant frames to stifle Tribe's bats
@scottmerkin
May 7, 2019

CLEVELAND -- Lucas Giolito threw only four breaking balls among his 105 pitches during Tuesday night’s 2-0 White Sox victory over the Indians at Progressive Field, marking the team’s first shutout since Sept. 15, 2018, at Baltimore. According to Statcast, the right-hander used three curves and one slider without getting

CLEVELAND -- Lucas Giolito threw only four breaking balls among his 105 pitches during Tuesday night’s 2-0 White Sox victory over the Indians at Progressive Field, marking the team’s first shutout since Sept. 15, 2018, at Baltimore.

According to Statcast, the right-hander used three curves and one slider without getting a swinging strike on any of them. But with his fastball command among his 67 thrown proving to be exceptional and topping out at 95.9 mph, and his changeup serving as the night’s perfect out pitch amid his 34 thrown, Giolito didn’t need much else.

Box score

“Mac [Catcher James McCann] and I early, we kind of found the changeup was keeping them off balance. They weren’t adjusting to it,” said Giolito, who improved to 3-1 overall and 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA in three road starts this season. “So, we just stuck with that. The second curveball I threw got hit hard, that was the double down the line [from Jason Kipnis leading off the fourth].

“I was like, ‘Why mess around? Let’s go after them with heaters and changeups off of that’ and it worked out well. The changeup, I had good feel for it. I had good break. Good velocity difference from my heater and so we just rode that out.”

Giolito’s 7 1/3 scoreless innings produced the second straight quality start for a White Sox rotation that entered this four-game American League Central set with the worst collective ERA in the Major Leagues. Giolito struck out eight and walked three, while giving up three hits.

Ivan Nova was the only White Sox starter to have worked at least seven innings coming into this series, on April 1 in Cleveland. But now the White Sox have gotten back-to-back efforts of at least seven innings from Nova and Giolito, with Giolito excited to get a chance to work into the eighth when he goes again on Tuesday, looking for more.

“Starting pitchers as a whole, we have not done a great job up until this point,” Giolito said. “But the biggest thing for me is getting deeper in the games and being the starting pitcher I know I can be. I can get into the seventh or eighth. Looking to throw a [complete game] at some point soon. So, yeah, just it’s all about getting into a good rhythm, finding what works and riding it out.”

“What can’t I say about Lucas?” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He did a really nice job. He ate up some innings. He was very calm.”

The White Sox didn’t need much offense against Cleveland starter Jefry Rodriguez, especially with the Indians having scored one run in the first two games combined and one total in their last three overall. The White Sox scored in the third on Yolmer Sanchez’s double and Yoan Moncada’s RBI single, then added another run in the sixth on Jose Abreu’s double and McCann’s RBI single.

Cleveland loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth against Jace Fry, but Alex Colomé struck out Carlos Santana to end the threat. Santana appeared to swing on a 0-1 pitch, but third-base umpire Marty Foster ruled he checked the swing. White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected after arguing the call.

Colome’s 3-2 pitch to Santana looked borderline at best. But a good framing job by McCann helped Jerry Meals call the inning-ending third strike and led to Colome’s seventh save in support of Giolito’s fastball/change dominance.

“He did a really good job,” said Colome of Giolito. “We have to try to do the best we can for him so he can win the game.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.