The most thrilling part of Lucas Giolito’s return from the injured list had nothing to do with him.
The distinction went to Eloy Jiménez’ catch at the top of the fence midway through Giolito’s start. Giolito held both fists in the air to celebrate his teammate’s heroics. But an otherwise uneventful first game back was notable enough, as the White Sox reassemble their rotation.
“He says he feels good, so that's a victory for us right there," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said of Giolito after a 9-3 win against the Angels on Tuesday.
Giolito allowed three runs, all driven in by two home runs, in four innings on Tuesday. He was the final piece to return to a recently ailing rotation. Right-hander Lance Lynn (right knee inflammation) overlapped with Giolito on the IL, and Carlos Rodón’s scheduled start last week was pushed back to Friday as he dealt with shoulder fatigue.
With Giolito’s outing on Tuesday, it became official: The band was back together.
After two weeks on the IL with a left hamstring strain, Giolito said the team set his pitch limit at around 80.
“In my mind, I want to, with 80 pitches, work at least five innings,” Giolito said. “So, I was upset about only going four. That’s on me. I wasn’t pitching efficiently enough. I felt like my stuff was really good, and I was executing pitches pretty well. But the home runs have been kind of haunting me all year.”
Giolito gave up a solo shot to Angels outfielder Phil Gosselin in a four-batter first inning and a two-run homer to cleanup hitter Jared Walsh in the fourth.
“The last one, especially, was really frustrating,” Giolito said.
On the other hand, Giolito also struck out five straight. Giolito’s pitch count began to soar in the fourth inning, when he issued two walks and two hits. By the end of the frame, Giolito’s pitch count was up to 87, and his night was done.
“This outing was just returning to action and making sure the hamstring felt good,’ Giolito said. “Which it did. It felt great. All my stuff was playing well. I would have liked to be a little tighter with the slider there. But I’m sure next time out, it will be a bit little tighter, a little bit more consistent.
“I liked how I threw the ball, I just didn’t like the results. That’s ok. We ended up winning. That’s all that matters.”
The White Sox took a similarly cautious approach to reintroducing Lynn to the rotation. The right-hander returned form the IL on Sunday to throw five scoreless innings. He threw 70 pitches, five to 10 short of his pitch limit.
“Going back out at 70 would've probably pushed it past that,” Lynn said at the time, “and then I would have gotten mad at whoever came and took me out in the middle of an inning. It was good to do five at where we're at and then the next time we'll build off of that.”
With three weeks left in the regular season, Both Lynn and Giolito have time to stretch out and work through the kinks before the playoffs.