No-hitter proof Lucas Giolito is an ace you don’t want to face in October


So many MLB no-hit bids do away with fame and glory. The pot may be tightened. Perhaps his luck ran out. Maybe the batsman hits just a good pitch. It appears that Lucas Giolito’s luck for the Chicago White Sox ended on his 101st pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, when Eric Gonzalez fielded an 0-2 fastball into right field.

“He’s the last, man… oh my god,” Giolito said after the game. “[I threw it] Right in the middle. … right off the bat, I saw difficult contact. I saw the line drive. I thought, ‘Ah, man, I’m going to be that man. I’m going to give it to a 0-2 count with two outsiders. ‘Luckily we have one of the best fielders in the field of sports. “

It seemed like a sure hit, a low 102 mph beam. In fact, it had an 85% hit probability, making it the most to hit any ball in a game in Goyalito. But right fielder Adam Engel was shaded in and towards the line. He made a good read on the play and kicked the ball off the top of his shoe to finish 19th in the season’s first no-hitter and White Sox history.

“There’s always a hitter outside in a no-no,” Giolito said. “I think he was the one.”

It was the most prominent no-hitter in White Sox history – and that’s saying something because only the Dodgers have thrown more. Giolito finished with 13 strikes, making him the first White Sox pitcher to record a double-digit strike in a no-hitter. His game score is the highest in franchise history for a nine-inning game and the most by Wilbur Wood in a 19-of-7 throwing 11-inning shutout.

Before the finals, shortstop Tim Anderson preserved a no-hitter in the top of the seventh with a good game on a two-hopper in the middle of Brian Reynolds. Shifting to the right of second base for a left-handed Reynolds, Anderson headed back towards the shortest part of the bag and quickly made a good off-balance throw to nip Reynolds, with first baseman Jose Abu digging the ball. Pulled out. Shit.

After the third out of that innings, Giolito admitted that when he started thinking about a no-hitter. “After the seventh, all is well, six more to go. Looking at what I was facing, it became very possible,” he said.

Despite all the strikes, his pitch count was low and he was a nonfactor. Giolito credited catcher James McCain, saying that he shook McCain only once all night. Working quickly, Giolito cruised through the eighth with eight strikes and a foul popup for first base. He finished ninth off two balls behind Jarrod Dyson, but then had three strikes, including two swinging on his strike. Jose Osuna fired to the right field on a 1-2 slider, and then Gonzalez attacked two sliders and missed it before Giolito tried to hit him past a fastball.

Of course, there were no fans in the guaranteed rate field to please Giolito. “That changed the crowd noise,” he said with a laugh during a postgame interview with MLB Network. “It felt like every single inning, the noise of the crowd got louder. By the ninth inning, the noise of the crowd went crazy. It felt like there were 35,000 people here.”

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Lucas Giolito gets Eric Gonzalez to go out in right field to finish off his no-hitter as the White Sox beat the Pirates 4–0.

There were a lot of swings and misses for the gelato in this game. He recorded 30 of them, the second highest in any no-hitter since 1990 (31 by Nolan Ryan) and the most by the White-Sox pitcher in any game of the pitch-tracking era (since 1988). 29 out of cell.

As Jeff Passon tweeted, “Lucas Giolito is a baaaaaad man.” Do you want to face him in the first game of the three best series? After allowing seven runs on Opening Day, he is 3-2 with a 3.09 ERA, allowing 58 strikes in 43⅔ innings and a .180 batting average.

He has been heavily turnaround since 2018. It was his first full season in the majors, his second with the White Sax since Adam Eaton’s arrival in the trade for the Nationals, and it was not a very good season. Golito finished at 10-13 with a 6.13 ERA, the worst ERA among qualifiers. He allowed the most earned runs and most walks in the American League, struck out 15 batters and had 6.5 strikeouts per nine innings. For the pitcher, considered by some analysts to be the best pitching prospect in the minors, it was a disappointing season, the result of which could ruin a young pitcher of sorts.

But Galito came back in 2019 and was throwing very strong and hard – and that was giving him a lot of confidence. His four-seamer average was 92.4 mph in 2018 but up to 94.2 in 2019, as well as a higher spin rate. Opponents shook the four-seamer with a .524 slugging percentage in 2018, but hit just .203 with a .364 slugging percentage in 2019. Giolito made the All-Star team and finished 14–9 with a 3.75 last season. His strike rate increased from 6.5 per nine to 11.6.

He also made some other major adjustments. He dug up his sinker and started throwing more of his change. That pitch was effective for him in 2018, but he increased its usage from 15.7% to 26.2%. He is throwing it more in 2020: 34.4% of the time. In some ways, change is his best pitch. He still has a wipeout that he uses to drive away right-handed batsmen, but the changeup makes his fastball even better.

In an interview with MLB Network on Monday, Giolito said he learned the changeup while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and fooling him with different grips after the 2012 National Draft. Giolito fell to the 16th overall pick due to the injury, but after a big season on A-Ball in 2014, he became a top prospect and made his debut with the Nationals in 2016. Even though he struggled in that opening big league stint, it was surprising when the club included him in the Eaton deal.

Apparently, Deal worked for the Nationals, with Eaton playing a key role in their World Series Championship. The deal has also done a great job for the White Sox.

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