Why has this year gone wrong for Giolito?

August 30th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Scott Merkin's White Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

CHICAGO -- Lucas Giolito wasn’t offering up excuses when I asked for a description of his 2022 season during our interview prior to Sunday’s series finale against Arizona.

In fact, the astute right-hander was direct and honest about the 5.14 ERA over his first 23 starts going into Tuesday night’s trip to the mound against the Royals.

“Well, it’s a failure for me. Just a lot of downs and not many ups,” said Giolito after throwing a bullpen under the watchful eyes of pitching coach Ethan Katz. “It’s unfortunate, but that’s how the game goes sometimes. Worked about as hard as I could to try to pull myself out of the mud multiple times this year and got kicked in the face a lot.

“But at the same time, it doesn’t take away from the confidence I have in myself overall. I feel like right now, I’m in a much better spot physically and mentally than I was throughout the major part of the year.”

Failure comes in different forms. You can feel defeated and have your hope taken away, which even the best of us fight through at some point in life. On the flip side, you also can learn from it, as Giolito is expressing about his current struggles.

“At this point, what’s in the past is in the past, and I’m just going to focus on my work and focus on finishing strong,” Giolito said. “I’m not pitching for any personal accolades.

“I’m pitching to try to give us a chance to get into the playoffs every time I take the ball. Playing for the team, trying to give it my all out there every single start.”

From 2019-21, Giolito was one of the American League’s top starting pitchers. He posted a 3.47 ERA over 72 starts and 427 2/3 innings, striking out 526 overall.

Giolito's 2022 campaign began with four innings of one-hit baseball on Opening Day in Detroit, only to have him leave early and be sidelined until April 24 with an abdominal strain. He also missed some time in May due to COVID-19.

Then, from May 31 to Aug. 18, Giolito posted a 6.64 ERA over 15 starts. He allowed one earned run over 6 1/3 innings during his last start in Baltimore and has begun thinking about what he can change this offseason to get ready for 2023.

Those thoughts will wait until October or November. His focus is on each remaining start in a season where he came in infinitely prepared to go despite the lockout delay.

“Yeah. It sucks. It sucks,” said Giolito with a small laugh. “I was telling you guys before the season I put on weight, and I wanted to be very stable and strong, and then I got hurt on Opening Day. Things after that just weren’t really right all year.

“I feel a little bit stronger. A little bit healthier just in general. And I feel like I let go of some of the frustration. A little bit too much experimenting coming into the season and early on. So, it’s back to basics. I’m just going to try to control what I can control. That’s my preparation, and when I’m out there, it’s trusting my stuff and being confident, and that’s it.”