Well, here we are, White Sox fans. The postseason has arrived, and for the first time in 12 years, the South Siders (35-25) will participate. They will play a best-of-three series in Oakland against the Athletics (36-24).
Lucas Giolito will be the Game 1 starter for the White Sox. Giolito, a 26-year-old right-hander, has had an exciting career even before his first playoff appearance. After being an elite prospect (No. 3 overall when the White Sox traded for him in 2016, per MLB Pipeline), Giolito initially struggled in the majors. In his first full season (2018), Giolito was among the least effective starting pitchers. That season, Giolito’s 6.13 ERA and 5.56 FIP left little reason for White Sox fans to be hopeful for his future. However, Giolito has turned things around in a big way since then. In 2019-20, Giolito has a 3.43 ERA, a 3.36 FIP, and a no-hitter, which occurred as recently as August 25. In two career starts against Oakland, Giolito has a 4.15 ERA.
Starting on the mound for Oakland will be Jesús Luzardo. Luzardo, 22, is a rookie left-hander with a 4.12 ERA and 4.19 FIP. One of Luzardo’s biggest strengths is his velocity, as his average fastball is 95 mph (83rd percentile, per Baseball Savant). Luzardo relies on three pitches, as his slider and curveball round out his arsenal. During the regular season, Luzardo threw fastballs (four-seamer and sinker) 52% of the time, changeups 25% of the time, and curveballs 23% of the time.
Here are the starting lineups:
Before the game, we received some information about Eloy Jiménez, who is not in the starting lineup.
Ricky Renteria on Eloy, who will not start today: "We put him through the ringers and maybe have him available for a big pinch-hit at-bat."— South Side Hit Pen (@southsidehitpen) September 29, 2020
Rest of series? "We’ll see how he responds to medication."
This game will start at 2:08 CST. ESPN will televise it, and radio coverage will be provided by WGN 720 and ESPN Radio. Last time the White Sox were in the postseason, their starting pitcher was Gavin Floyd, and their shortstop was Orlando Cabrera. Let’s enjoy the team’s first postseason game since then.