CHICAGO -- When the White Sox acquired Lucas Giolito two offseasons ago for outfielder Adam Eaton, they hoped that he'd be a cornerstone in their rotation for years to come. But so far this season, Giolito has struggled to find consistency from one start to another.Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate
CHICAGO -- When the White Sox acquired Lucas Giolito two offseasons ago for outfielder Adam Eaton, they hoped that he'd be a cornerstone in their rotation for years to come. But so far this season, Giolito has struggled to find consistency from one start to another.
Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field saw Giolito struggle through four innings, needing 98 pitches to navigate 21 batters in a 10-6 loss to the Pirates. Through seven starts, Giolito has tallied 36 combined innings and has completed the sixth only three times.
"I just think it's just more of a command [issue], making sure he commands the strike zone, gets ahead, executes," manager Rick Renteria said. "He's still in a situation where he's continuing to learn who he is, and these hiccups are gonna occur.
"For him it'll be something to learn from and build on, and we're very confident that what he will ultimately become will be something pretty good. But right now, he's still working through it."
Though Giolito had no problems in the first inning, tossing 12 of his 15 pitches for strikes, he immediately squandered the four-run lead his offense had staked him to off opposing starter Ivan Nova. The Pirates sent eight batters to the plate in the second, scoring four, and forced Giolito to throw 36 pitches.
"The fact that they gave me four runs in the first inning and I went out and gave up four is unacceptable," Giolito said. "To throw that many pitches in that few innings, it's just not getting the job done as a starting pitcher. I should be going five, at least."
Giolito then worked his way around trouble in the third. Four straight hitters reached base, but Giolito was able to keep any from crossing the plate. He worked efficiently again in the fourth, before he was removed for Chris Volstad with the White Sox leading, 5-4.
Volstad and Luis Avilan combined to give up five runs in 1 1/3 innings, putting the White Sox in rally mode for the remainder of the game.
Giolito's start Tuesday stood in stark contrast to his last outing at the Cardinals, when the righty had arguably his best start of the season in six innings of three-run ball. Giolito wasn't able to repeat his success against the Pirates, however, and said that he was "fighting myself" and struggling to adjust.
"That's something I need to get better at, not recognizing when it's happening, but making that adjustment as soon as it happens. Not an inning later or whatever, do it immediately. That's what really good pitchers do, be able to make adjustments on the fly and get right quick."
Offensively, Welington Castillo hit his fourth home run of the year in the White Sox four-run first, and his fifth off George Kontos in the eighth. Yolmer Sanchez also had three hits, but Chicago's bats largely went silent following Nova's departure after two innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
During the White Sox first-inning rally, Sanchez hit a sinking liner to left fielder Corey Dickerson. The ball sank so quickly that Dickerson lost it in the lights, allowing Sanchez to race all the way to third for a triple as Leury Garcia came around to score. That defensive mishap led to Chicago's first four-run inning since April 28 in Kansas City.
Sanchez's 3-for-5 effort Tuesday night extended his hitting streak to six games. Four of the six games have seen Sanchez record multiple hits. During this streak, Sanchez is hitting .462 (12-for-26) with three doubles and two triples.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Though the White Sox trailed in the ninth inning, Tim Anderson never quit hustling. With two outs in the top of the ninth, Jordy Mercer hit a high foul popup near the third-base tarp. Anderson and Sanchez both hustled over, but it was Anderson who made a nice grab falling into the stands.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
In the bottom of the first inning, Garcia led off by hitting a ball that was deflected by Nova and ricocheted to Colin Moran. Moran threw Garcia out at first, but the White Sox challenged the call. After a short review, the call on the field was overturned and Garcia's single ended up sparking the White Sox four-run first inning.
Then, in the top of the third with runners on first and second, Moran hit a sharp ground ball to Jose Abreu. Thinking of turning a double play, Abreu fired to second and retreated to first, but while the throw was in time, Abreu's foot was not on the bag. The White Sox challenged the call, and it stood after review. Giolito worked his way out of the inning by inducing a popout from Jose Osuna.
The White Sox will wrap up this quick two-game Interleague set with the Pirates on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. CT before getting Thursday off. Reynaldo Lopez (0-2, 2.43 ERA) will take the mound for Chicago seeking to build on his strong sophomore season. He will be opposed by Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams. The White Sox begin a three-game set with the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday.
Max Gelman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago.