It was not the usual dominant performance from Lucas Giolito against the Royals, but it was a quality start. And he definitely deserved better from his bats in a 5-2 loss in Kansas City.
For the first three innings, Giolito looked like the pitcher that threw a scoreless inning in the All-Star Game: He retired all six batters in the first two innings, including two strikeouts. The third inning did bring a scare, as Nicky Lopez lined a double off of Giolito. The liner did break Giolito’s necklace, but he stayed in the game and worked through the trouble.
Well, that's not your traditional double... Lopez smashes one back up the middle that literally knocks Lucas Giolito's chain off. Sheesh.— FOX Sports Kansas City (@FSKansasCity) July 16, 2019
The #Royals are on FSKC and FSGO: https://t.co/XU8ll8xbPq pic.twitter.com/tjPyhksMJR
The fourth inning was the start of the of the loss .. was it because Giolito was almost nailed in the noggin the previous inning? Maybe, as the groove he was in the first third of the game did not return. Giolito allowed two runs in the fourth inning, a double from the bat of Hunter Dozier (doesn’t it seem like he always does something against the Sox?), followed by Cheslor Cuthbert (a 21st Century name, somehow) driving in Dozier for the second run of the game.
The fifth inning was better for Giolito, and his batterymate tried to get some sort of offensive support going in the sixth. McCann hit his 10th home run of the year to cut the Royals lead in half.
430 feet later, James McCann has his 10th home run of the season. pic.twitter.com/qp024msMmf— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 16, 2019
Giolito would give that run back in the bottom half of the inning after getting into some trouble on the bases. It was actually quite the feat for him to keep the damage at just one run. Giolito left with six innings of three runs allowed and five strikeouts. He put eight runners one base, and most of those came after his comebacker scare in the third.
But it was not all bad, he still had his changeup going:
Lucas Giolito, Nasty 82mph Changeup (Grip/Release). pic.twitter.com/11SMg8vLH3— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 16, 2019
While this was all going on, as you all probably noticed, there was not really much offense at all. Jon Jay, the lone Machado-related offseason pitch left on the team (well, I guess the money is still in pocket, as well), was the only White Sox hitter to have success besides the bomb from McCann. Jay ended the day 4-for-4 with a couple of doubles. Only four Sox batters reached base via a hit (McCann, Jay, José Abreu, and Eloy Jiménez); it was just that kind of night for the Pale Hose. And that includes some on the field clownery, as the South Siders had another error. The Royals though, had their defensive troubles as well:
The White Sox and Royals defensive errors. Name a more iconic duo— unreliable narrator (@ballerlibrarian) July 16, 2019
But first, the Royals defensive miscues: After Josh Osich allowed a run in the seventh, the Sox brought the deficit back to two in the eighth inning. Jay got what was deemed an infield single to reach basem but the throw from Adalberto Mondesi was terrible and Yoan Moncada scuffled home to score on the error. Eloy was up next, and grounded into a fielder’s choice, but this time, because of an error from Hunter Dozier, Abreu and Jay reached second and third with two outs. Jose Rondon would pinch-hit for AJ Reed and walk to load the bases for Yolmer Sánchez.
Sánchez would, of course, strike out to end the inning, but the Sox were at least able to score one run, but the defense gave it right back the next inning. After some real terrible pitching from Jose Ruiz, Abreu committed an error that scored Jorge Soler, pushing the game to 5-2. The run was charged to Ruiz, and the damage was limited to that lone run, so on to the ninth.
Charlie Tilson led off the inning and was made quick work of. However, Leury Garcia and Moncada both wanted to keep the game interesting, as they reached base to get the tying run to the plate in Abreu. It took seven pitches, but on a fastball over the heart of the plate ... Abreu grounded into a game-ending double play, go figure.
The double play was the last of the failures with runners in scoring position. They were 1-for-13 for the game with RISP. I guess Giolito Day was not so bright, after all. The Sox drop the series opener, 5-2, and are still winless in the second half.