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After Kopech woes, Giolito calms fans’ nerves

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Eight strikeouts and one earned run in four-plus innings was just what Dr. Cooper ordered

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox
The Great Curve: Giolito flashed his plus-breaking ball in a masterful four-plus innings of work.
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The abysmal starts of Michael Kopech and Carson Fulmer left a bad taste in the mouth of Chicago White Sox fans, but never fear, Lucas Giolito calmed all nerves in his outing today against the Chicago Cubs.

From the beginning, it was clear that Don Cooper and the pitching coaches wanted Giolito to go out and feature off-speed pitches. The outcome of that plan? A much improved outing that featured eight strikeouts and only one bad pitch (to Victor Caratini on a solo home run).

Last season, Giolito primarily used his fastball among his arsenal of four pitches. His fastball percentage was 50.1% and the next most used pitch was his changeup at 16.1%.

According to Fangraphs, Giolito’s best pitch figures to be his curveball, giving it a future 70 score. However, last season with the Sox, Giolito’s curve was the least valuable of his pitches, at -2 for curveball runs above average.

It seems that Coop and Giolito are looking to change that, as his breaking stuff was on display in this outing. In the first inning, he struck out all three batters with the curveball, and all resulted in atrocious swings. That continued throughout Giolito’s four-plus innings.

If Giolito can maintain his command, and keep spinning the bite on his curve like he did against the poor Cubs lineup today, it will be a breakout 2018 season for him.