Chicago’s breakthrough player of the year will see his season end two weeks early.
After Monday’s 5-3 loss to the Twins, the team told beat reporters in Minnesota that a mild lat strain would force Lucas Giolito to miss not just Tuesday’s start against the Twins, but the rest of the season.
Several writers reported the MRI revealing the injury, which Giolito suffered in his start last week against the Kansas City Royals. James Fegan estimated the injury as having a three-to-four week recovery period. Scott Merkin quoted Rick Hahn as dismissive of any long-term worries for the pitcher: “No, nothing. It’s very clear it’s a mild lat strain and zero long-term concerns.”
While calling Giolito a “Comeback Player of the Year” candidate may be a misnomer, given one has to come back from previous success (discounting three starts in late 2017) to truly have a “comeback” season, it’s clear there is no more improved player in the sport.
In 2018, Giolito sported the worst ERA in baseball, leading the majors in earned runs (118) and the American League in walks (90); he was, simply, a mess. This year, Giolito became an All-Star as the only reliable member of the White Sox rotation, as well as a player who will receive Cy Young consideration. His numbers took an extraordinary uptick, and the righthander currently leads the majors with three complete games and two shutouts. And those two shutouts came against two of the best offenses in baseball, the Houston Astros and Twins.
Giolito finishes with a 14-9 record and 228 strikeouts (seventh-most in White Sox history), with a 3.41 ERA, 3.44 FIP and 1.064 WHIP. His 5.8 WAR would make him the White Sox MVP by a wide margin, at least per Baseball-Reference numbers.
Ironically, in the game Giolito was injured, he set a White Sox record with eight consecutive strikeouts.
Ross Detwiler takes Giolito’s spot in the rotation for the final two weeks of the season.