MLB: The Show Players League — Giolito splits the night, looking to secure a playoff spot on April 29
For the last night of the regular season in the MLB: The Show Players League, Lucas Giolito was scheduled for two games on the night. Jason Benetti, the iconic play-by-play announcer for the Chicago White Sox, was back for action with Giolito as well. Looking to go 2-0 and stay in the top eight (playoff) teams, Giolito started his stream at twitch.tv/GeneralGio, ready to make his playoff statement.
Game 27: Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros
Lance McCullers Jr. and the virtual Astros were the first opponent of the night. Staying true to tradition, Giolito went with the black-top jerseys, and he pitched as himself.
Tim Anderson started the night off with a first-pitch hit to left. Next it was gap city, as Yoán Moncada drove Tim home on a double to give Gio and the virtual Sox an early 1-0 lead. However, YoYo was thrown out on another baserunning mishap. In the bottom of the first, real-life Giolito and virtual Giolito gave up two runs, so the Sox were down 2-1 after one full inning of play.
Quote of the night from Giolito: "Giolito has no idea where his changeups are going!"
Eloy Jiménez tripled to lead off the second inning, and Nomar Mazara singled Eloy home to tie the game, 2-2. Luis Robert singled up the middle to put runners on first and second, and Leury García singled to left to load the bases.
Edwin Encarnación was brought in to pinch hit in a big moment, as per usual. As he was taking virtual Giolito's spot, we received our second quote of the night from Lucas: "Giolito is out. Send him to Triple-A."
Two foul ball gland slams by EE led to a fly out to center, and Giolito's Achilles heel in the game, baserunning, killed him again.
On the bright side, Jimmy Cordero pitched a clean bottom of the second, keeping the game tied, 2-2.
TA7 singled to right to open the third, and after YoYo hit a two-run shot to give the White Sox a 4-2, we got Giolito's third quote of the night: "We hit homers; we don't worry about baserunning. That's the key."
José Abreu and Yasmani Grandal were ducks on the pond, so Luis Robert drove a ball to left, and Houston's left fielder dropped the out! The lead quickly swelled to 6-2, cuing the fourth quote of the night: "This game has been a circus show."
Jimmy Cordero gave up a solo shot to open the bottom of the third, so Aaron Bummer came in and secured a 6-3 win. Giolito and the virtual Sox improved to 18-9 overall, 10-3 on the road, and 1-0 on the night.
Game 28: Washington Nationals at Chicago White Sox
For the second and presumably last game of the night, Giolito went with the guaranteed black-top jerseys and Dallas Keuchel against Juan Soto and the Nationals.
Top of the first, all three outs found their way to Nomar Mazara's glove in right. With Max Scherzer on the mound in the bottom of the first, Moncada took him deep to right to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead!
Making his way to the second inning, Giolito and virtual Dallas gave up an RBI double to Soto to tie the game at one. With that, Steve Cishek was brought into the game, and he secured the three outs to leave the inning still tied, 1-1.
In the bottom of the second, Giolito hit a perfect-perfect with Luis Robert at the plate, yet the ball was a few feet in front of the center field warning track and was caught for an out. The game is rigged. Giolito could not get any runs to cross the plate.
In the third inning, Juan Soto hit a home run off of Aaron Bummer to give him a late, 2-1 lead. Another Washington solo shot put Soto up, 3-1.
All throughout the game, Juan Soto kept popping up his quick menu, at least a million times. After the two home runs, Giolito put in Alex Colomé, and the first pitch Alex threw was right at virtual Juan Soto. Bad blood brewing between virtual Sox and the nasty Nats!
Alex grabbed the last out, and Gio was looking for two runs to tie and three runs to walk it off. Unfortunately, he went down 1-2-3.
Giolito and the virtual White Sox dropped to 18-10 overall, 8-7 at home, and 1-1 on the night. And with that loss, Lucas fell out of the top eight.
HOWEVER, remember the last game on the schedule, against Amir Garrett and the virtual Reds? Lucas said to hang tight, that the Washington game was not going to be the loast played on the stream.
The fact that Lucas went even, instead of going 0-2, is huge. After the rest of the games unfolded with many upsets, Lucas climbed back into the top eight, in the eighth spot.
His last game, against Amir Garrett, will air on Wednesday, April 29 on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. CT. His is the second of two games, so Giolito will play around 9:30-9:45 p.m. CT. I am predicting the games will be recorded today so that they will not be live on Wednesday ... but if they are live, that will be a bit more exciting!
Tiebreakers, as stated in previous articles, are not determined by players' records against one another. The first tiebreaker is the amount of runs scored, as depicted in the last column of the image above. If Giolito beats Garrett, he will hold the sixth seed in the playoffs; if he loses and Tommy Kahnle loses, Giolito will squeeze into the playoffs in his current eighth spot. If Giolito loses and Kahnle wins ... well, let's just . . . not discuss that.
The playoffs start on May 1 and will run through May 3. They will be played live on ESPN, ESPN2, and FS1. When Lucas solidifies his top-eight spot, you know I will provide all of the updates here and on Twitter.
If you wish to re-live Lucas's live streams, they can all be found on his Twitch channel, which donates all of its proceeds to the Orphan Kitten Project. Of course, I have all of the game recaps right here at Sports Illustrated.
Tomorrow, look for my discussion question on Sports Illustrated's South Side Hit Pen's Community page and follow my live-tweet thread @Ashley22Sanders. You won't want to miss it!
Let's go, Lucas! We believe in you!