Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria had a big ol’ grin on his face as he took the ball from Lucas Giolito in the sixth inning on Thursday night.
Giolito finished the night throwing just under 80 pitches en route to 5 ⅓ innings of two-run ball in the White Sox’s 7-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Giolito’s night didn’t get off to the greatest start, though.
The righthander allowed a leadoff triple to Eric Young Jr., who then scored on an RBI groundout from Chris Young.
Cris Carter followed later in the inning, lining a solo shot off the left field foul pole. His super strength allowed him to turn on Giolito’s changeup and keep it fair.
Giolito was appropriately gruff when evaluating his first frame:
Giolito said he didn’t have the intensity he needed early on, called the 1st inning “a bit of a brain fart moment,” and credited Kevan Smith’s mound visit with helping him settle in— James Fegan (@JRFegan) March 16, 2018
Indeed, Giolito did settle down after the first. He found better command of his off-speed pitches and did not walk a single batter.
The season opener is two weeks from today, and Giolito has had the best spring among Sox starters (not counting one good spring start from James Shields). He has a 3.18 spring ERA and looks in midseason form.
The White Sox offense did not line up too many starters tonight, but did get production.
Ryan Cordell continued his nice spring with an RBI triple off the center field wall in the third inning. He is hitting .345 and is giving Adam Engel and Leury Garcia some competition for the starting center field role.
Leury added two doubles and a triple to his box score on the night. Renteria had him playing shortstop, a role he’ll likely most often find himself during the season — as a utility middle infielder.
The back-end of the Opening Day bullpen is also starting to take its form.
Luis Avilan has been close to unhittable this spring and continued his dominance Thursday. He went ⅔ innings and added a strikeout. Joakim Soria pitched an inning of scoreless ball as well.
Overall, not a bad game at all for the Sox. Giolito pitched well, and the bats did enough to secure the win.