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Giolito grinds, but White Sox ace, bullpen clutch vs. Boston

/ by Tim Stebbins
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
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Lucas Giolito isn’t sure if, a few seasons ago, he would have recovered from a poor start to his night like he had Wednesday vs. the Red Sox.

“I think experience is a big part of it,” the White Sox ace said. “Earlier in my career, a night like [Wednesday] could probably snowball rather quickly. 

“Even in the first inning, but the biggest thing is having confidence and having trust in yourself.”

Giolito labored early against the Red Sox on Wednesday. He still tossed a quality start to help the White Sox beat Boston 3-1 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The White Sox bullpen backed him with three scoreless innings from Aaron Bummer, Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly and Liam Hendriks.

“That’s why a year is so special when a starting pitcher gets 30-something [starts],” manager Tony La Russa said of Giolito.

“There are games like this where instant trouble and he’s just competing and making the pitches he had to and fighting his way through it. He ends up getting that deep into the game.”

Giolito threw 27 pitches in the first inning, allowing a run on two hits and a walk. His pitch count stood at 56 through three innings and 78 through four. He didn’t get a 1-2-3 inning until the fifth.

"It was a grind,” said Giolito, who added he lacked rhythm and tempo in his delivery, especially his wind-up, early. “It led to really, really poor fastball command, at times not really knowing where my fastball was going.”

 

No matter. He still held the Red Sox to that lone run, five hits and four walks while striking out seven. He retired the final seven batters he faced.

It came against a Red Sox team that scored 16 runs the night prior.

"That was a hard game for him," La Russa said. "That lineup is scary. So, just another box that you check for how lucky we are to have him."

Giolito said he found his rhythm as the game progressed and credited catcher Reese McGuire for guiding him through his issues.

His defense also came up big on several occasions, including against the final batter Giolito faced, Franchy Cordero. Andrew Vaughn robbed Cordero with a diving catch in right field to end the sixth.

“Vaughn making that diving catch to get me through six innings there was massive,” Giolito said.

Boston had its chances late, including a bases-loaded, two-out opportunity against Graveman in the seventh and a two-on, two-out chance against Hendriks in the ninth. The Sox bullpen held serve each time.

Boston left 12 runners on base.

Kelly struck out both batters he faced in the eighth before exiting with left hamstring tightness.

“Guys really rose to the game, starting with Gio,” said La Russa, who went on to credit Bummer, Graveman, Kelly and Hendriks. 

“It was a bunch of clutch pitches at a time, including Liam’s last one.”

Said Giolito: "I know that if I go six strong — I’d like to go deeper — but [if] I can get six innings in and leave with the lead, I’m very comfortable.

"I was in [the clubhouse] doing my postgame work, feeling very good about where we were at and what those guys are able to do. They got the job done."

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