Giolito 'just not right' in rare clunker outing vs. Royals originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Lucas Giolito turned in a clunker Wednesday night.
The Chicago White Sox ace had been pitching like his top-of-the-rotation title since the start of the second half, providing reminders that despite a pair of Cy Young candidates on the starting staff, he still deserves as much consideration as anyone to be the team's Game 1 starter in a playoff series.
But Wednesday night didn't look good. Giolito gave up six runs in a brief four-inning outing against the Kansas City Royals, surrendering a trio of homers and eight hits total, just four fewer than the number of outs he recorded in what ended up a 9-1 loss.
Though those kinds of outings haven't been commonplace in 2021 — the only shorter start for Giolito than these four innings was the one-inning disaster against the Boston Red Sox in May at Fenway Park — he'll be the first to admit that he hasn't had the kind of best-in-baseball season that he holds himself to.
All that said, there's nothing to panic about when it comes to Giolito. Part of his evolution from what the Guaranteed Rate commercial frequently reminds was the "worst pitcher in baseball" into an All Star and the ace of the South Side staff was gaining the ability to stop nights like this from snowballing into something that lasts longer and does more damage.
Not that it makes the moment sting any less.
"I made way too many mistakes and they didn't miss them. They just raked," Giolito said. "It sucks because I'm the reason we lost tonight, and so it's a brutal feeling. But just use that as motivation for the next one."
Giolito wasn't solely to blame, as the White Sox offense could do no more than four hits and one run worth of damage against Royals pitching, the lone run coming on a José Abreu homer.
But as mentioned, nights like Wednesday have been the exception rather than the norm for Giolito in 2021. Take out this start and that one against the Red Sox, and his 3.98 ERA drops all the way to 3.10.
Some might be quick to jump on Giolito for not matching the stellar seasons of rotation-mates Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodón, seemingly afraid of a repeat of last postseason, when the White Sox were bounced in the first round when they had no reliable third starting-pitching option to turn to. But the ace of the staff has earned his title and has proven himself plenty reliable, experiencing Wednesday what any pitcher will throughout the course of a season.
Heck, Rodón was roughed up by these same Royals in his last start, and Lynn, too, has turned in a four-inning, six-run clunker this season.
"I think a guy goes out there 30-some times, you are going to have a game like that where you are just not right," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. "You are going to have several, just the way (it goes). You are a man, not a machine.
"You go out there as a starter all year long, and you are going to have games (like this). ... Just a little bit like Carlos the other day in Kansas City. Early on they get you, and before you are right, it’s not your day."