All eyes were on White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito during a quiet night on the South side of Chicago as he searched for the final three outs of a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The likelihood of Giolito getting a no-hitter in his career would be very miniscule after a horrendous 2018 season. Giolito was arguably the worst pitcher in 2018 with an Earned Run Average (ERA) of 6.13 per game and at the bottom of the leaderboards, leading the league in stats pitchers want to avoid (walks, earned runs, etc).
For many athletes, the mental component of confidence tends to lack, which holds them back from performing their best. However, fortunately for Giolito, this was never the case. “We always tell them we can believe in them, but they’ve got to believe in themselves. We can’t believe for them and he’s [Giolito] always had that belief,” manager Rick Renteria said about Giolito. He always knew he could accomplish great things, but it was his physical mechanics in his pitching that were keeping him from looking like a major league pitcher.
Despite Giolito’s struggles in 2018, he turned his career around from being a potential, lost cause to a promising starting pitcher, with just a simple change in his pitching mechanics. In just one off season, Giolito cut his ERA in half, 3.14, shut out two of the toughest teams in baseball, that being the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins, and became an All-Star for the first time. Most notably, he earned himself the title of “being the ace” on the Sox starting rotation. That’s hard to accomplish all at once after having a dreadful season in the majors and that horrific season being his first full season with a new team.
Giolito has now become one of the best pitchers in the league and has solid performances that keeps his team in the game. That was no exception for Giolito against the Pirates.
It was a nail-biter for the final three outs for Giolito & staff. He retired the first two batters fairly easily and quickly. With the lead-off man coming up, fans waited anxiously for the final results as there was only one out to go. Luckily for Giolito, he had his battery mate James McCann behind the plate calling pitches that would “calm him down”, as he would say. That would come in handy with the final out approaching and the adrenaline is high around the ballpark.
Giolito didn’t want to be that guy that had two outs, an 0-2 count and lost the bid, but Erik Gonzalez hit a rifle, off of Giolito’s simple (common) but highly effective high fastball, to right field. Thankfully Adam Engel got a good jump on the ball and was there to snag the ball.
History was just made.
Giolito became the 19th pitcher in White Sox history to throw a no-hitter, first to do so since Philip Humber in 2012, but is the first pitcher in franchise history to record 13 strikeouts and have a no-hitter. Not to mention, the first one of the condensed 2020 season due to COVID-19.
The only flaw in Giolito’s outstanding performance was four straight balls in the top of the fourth to Gonzalez, preventing him from the perfect game.
Just like any milestone pitching performance, the defense also deserves credit as they kept the no-hitter intact. Tim Anderson made a huge play that probably preserved the 1st hit. Anderson ran, scooped a ball that was a good 12 feet to his right and threw to first with Jose Abreu snagging the ball and getting the out. Giolito was ecstatically happy for that. “Obviously the defense behind me was unbelievable, especially the ground ball up the middle with TA [Tim Anderson] and Pito [Jose Abreu],” Giolito said via a postgame interview from MLB.com.
The ace of the talented but young pitching staff looks to help this newly rebuilt team for what appears to be a bright future in 2021.