Sox Reporter

Giolito's dominance gets new name from TA: 'Bully stage'

Sox Reporter

What we saw from Lucas Giolito on Tuesday? Tim Anderson's got a term for it.

"He goes into like a bully stage where he starts hitting his spots, finding his spots and being so dominant," the White Sox shortstop said after the game. "I’ve watched it all season long and last season, as well. I know when he’s in his groove."

Giolito was undoubtedly in a groove during Game 1 of the White Sox opening-round playoff series against the Oakland Athletics. You didn't need to be a baseball genius to figure that out. Six innings, no base runners is pretty self-explanatory.

RELATED: Tim Anderson is engine for White Sox playoff run: 'When Timmy goes, we go'

Yes, Giolito was perfect through six, just the fifth pitcher to ever accomplish that in a postseason game. And much like he did throughout the regular season, he made the A's pay for the fatal mistake of not getting to him early. Because he seemed to get better and better as the game went on and the zeroes kept piling up.

When he blew away all three hitters he faced to stay perfect in the sixth inning, that was "bully stage."

"It's like when things start to sync up, the brain kind of shuts off and it's just kind of tunnel vision to the glove," Giolito said after the game. "When I hit that state, I just want to ride it out as long as possible. That's pretty much it right there.

 

"I like that (Anderson) calls it that, bully stage."

Giolito seemed to have a T-shirt idea brewing, or something, because he was obviously enamored with Anderson's terminology.

The White Sox were enamored with what their pitcher did for them, setting a heck of a tone for what they hope is a lengthy postseason run. The South Siders seemed to enter this best-of-three series with the starting-pitching edge, Giolito and Dallas Keuchel finishing the regular season as two of the finest arms in the AL. Giolito showed why, adding another incredible outing to his resume in the same season he twirled a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It was hard not to have flashbacks to Aug. 25 the way Giolito was setting down A's batters Tuesday. Hard for everyone except Giolito, apparently.

"It was a different feel, because throwing a perfect game, no-hitter is a great personal accomplishment, but we are in the playoffs. The goal is to win the game," he said. "For me, it was all about, 'I’m going to give the team the best possible chance to come out on top after nine innings. Whether I throw six, seven, eight innings, it doesn’t matter.'

"If a perfect game happens it happens. That was not on my mind. Whereas the one during the (regular) season, it was very much on my mind."

Giolito pitched the White Sox a victory away from winning their first postseason series since the 2005 World Series, not a bad job in his first career playoff game. But he also established himself as a certain kind of pitcher at the outset of the postseason.

Remember what Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg did last year? What Justin Verlander and Madison Bumgarner and Randy Johnson have done in playoffs past? Giolito turned in the kind of dominant outing that creates October legends. And though he'll have to do it a few more times to reach that status, he showed he's very much capable of it Tuesday.

Kirk Gibson's home run, Luis Gonzalez's base hit, Willie Mays' catch. History loves a Fall Classic highlight. But playoff runs are built on pitching. Maybe the White Sox can build one on Giolito.

If he can keep getting into "bully stage," there's no reason why not.

"Lucas is a stud," outfielder Adam Engel said. "He's one of the best in the game. I think he's a true ace, one of the handful of guys out there I would consider a true ace and he showed it today."

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