White Sox

One date, five games, no hits

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One date, five games, no hits

May 15 can be considered a day of no-hitters. No less than five were tossed on this day throughout the years.

Celebrating a birthday on May 15 are:
- John Smoltz; who won 213 games in his career without tossing a no-hitter.
- George Brett; who prevented many no-hitters by lashing out 3154 hits.

But anyway, here are the five May 15 masterpieces in chronological order:

1944: Clyde Shoun

This Reds lefty nicknamed "Hardrock" tossed his no-hitter against the Boston Braves. His counterpart on the hill was Jim Tobin, who just 18 days earlier pitched a no-hitter of his own. Tobin's walk was the only thing standing in the way of a perfect game. He also struck out only one...Shoun's MLB career began with the Cubs, and was included in the package sent to the Cardinals for Dizzy Dean in April 1938.

1952: Virgil Trucks

On May 15, the Tigers' fireballing Trucks tossed what would be the first of two 1952 no-hitters (the second one came August 25th at Yankee Stadium). Trucks hit two batters and walked one, while striking out seven. Incredibly, his two no-hitters accounted for 40 percent of his 1952 win total, and he finished the season 5-19.

1960: Don Cardwell

Two days earlier, the Phillies sent Cardwell to the Cubs in a four-player deal. Cardwell's first game with his new team, in game two of a doubleheader, resulted in a no-hitter over the Cardinals. The 6-foot-4 righthander struck out seven and walked one.

1973: Nolan Ryan

The Ryan Express tossed his first of two no-hitters on the season for the Halos (and also the first of seven in his career) against the Royals (it was George Brett's 20th birthday... but he didn't make his big league debut until Aug. 2). The big Texan struck out 12 and walked three.

1981: Len Barker

Barker's was the only perfect game of this list of five, and it came against the Blue Jays. The 6-foot-5 righty retired eleven by way of strikeout; in the Jays lineup that day was future NBA guard Danny Ainge.

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.

Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.

Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.

Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

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USA TODAY

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.