CHICAGO -- The pitching performance turned in by White Sox hurler Lucas Giolito during Cleveland's 4-0 victory Monday night at Guaranteed Rate Field illustrates the inconsistencies plaguing the right-hander almost three months into this 2018 season.For 3 2/3 innings, Giolito didn't allow a hit to the American League Central leaders.
CHICAGO -- The pitching performance turned in by White Sox hurler Lucas Giolito during Cleveland's 4-0 victory Monday night at Guaranteed Rate Field illustrates the inconsistencies plaguing the right-hander almost three months into this 2018 season.
For 3 2/3 innings, Giolito didn't allow a hit to the American League Central leaders. But a bout of wildness in the fourth eventually led to Giolito being pulled without retiring a hitter in the sixth. Giolito issued walks to Yonder Alonso and Melky Cabrera with two out and nobody on in the fourth, missing badly with some pitches, was followed by a Lonnie Chisenhall bloop single to score a run, giving the Indians a 1-0 advantage. Yan Gomes came through with a two-run double down the left-field line and the Indians had all the runs they would need behind Carlos Carrasco.
"He was missing his spots," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria of Giolito, who threw just 46 of his 93 pitches for strikes in slipping to 4-7. "He was missing locations. He was still more around the plate but not hitting his spots. Threw a couple of good changeups and breaking balls. Fastball [had] decent velocity."
"I didn't have very good feel tonight, even though I was pitching well," Giolito said. "I thought my stuff was really good, probably up there with the best it's been this year, but didn't have good feel. A lot of misfires really bad, going deep into counts against a lot of guys in the fourth inning kind of bit me."
Carrasco completely shut down the White Sox over seven innings, yielding two hits, walking one and striking out 11. The White Sox got Yolmer Sanchez as far as third base in the first, only to have Daniel Palka strike out to end the frame. Kevan Smith and Charlie Tilson singled in the second, but Adam Engel took a called third strike to end the team's other viable scoring chance.
Giolito topped out at 95.2 mph with his fastball per Statcast™, getting three swinging strikes and nine called strikes off the pitch. But he fanned just three and walked four, giving him 43 walks and 34 strikeouts over 66 innings pitched this season. Michael Brantley added a solo home run off of Giolito in the fifth.
Confidence has not wavered for the 23-year-old hurler, despite having a 7.09 ERA over 13 starts. But he needs to find a way to manage the frustration.
"That's the main thing is being able to control that," Giolito said. "I need to do a better job of staying relaxed and despite a misfire here or there, falling behind batters, just trusting my stuff and keeping it going. I didn't do a good job of that tonight.
"Yeah, I'm beating myself, 100 percent. My sinker was good today. My pitches felt good when I threw them right. It's just not doing it enough, not getting the ball over the plate. I'm going out there walking a bunch of guys, I'm not going to have success that way. I need to kind of find that click or whatever that is to go out there to be consistent, throw the ball over the plate."
• Yoan Moncada finished 0-for-4 on Monday. He struck out in each of his first three at-bats against Carrasco, covering only 10 pitches. Matt Davidson has eight strikeouts in his last two games.
• The White Sox bullpen has thrown 19 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings and owns a 1.85 ERA in June.
HE SAID IT
"I'm very confident in myself as a pitcher, I'm confident in my stuff. I know that if I throw the ball over the plate, I command my stuff, I'm going to get a lot of guys out. It's just [that] I don't have good feel, kind of getting frustrated. I have to do a better job of just kind of staying within myself and letting my talent play out there."-- Giolito
James Shields (1-7, 4.92) is scheduled to make his 15th appearance of the season and 14th start with a 7:10 p.m. CT first pitch on Tuesday against the Indians. Cleveland will counter with right-hander Adam Plutko. Shields has made four straight quality starts at home, posting a 2.89 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched. He has thrown six-plus innings in nine consecutive starts, but has not won since Opening Day.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.