CHICAGO — Lucas Giolito threw the 19th no-hitter in White Sox history, earning himself a place in history at Guaranteed Rate Field on a balmy August evening on the South Side of Chicago.
A few short words about Lucas Giolito
He likes using Kirby when playing Super Smash Bros., enjoys playing Call of Duty with Carlos Rodón and Dallas Keuchel, and owns at least one Oculus Rift.
He and his wife, Ariana, adopted their dog, Louie, from a shelter in Los Angeles a few years ago. In the MLB Players’ League during the season hiatus earlier this year, he took White Sox fans to a thrilling "World Series" end, filling a void when no baseball was being played.
He streams himself playing video games on Twitch sometimes, and there, he enthusiastically connects with his fans, where they can ask him questions about anything from his favorite Kanye West albums to what his changeup grip looks like. He donates all proceeds from Twitch subscriptions to the Orphan Kitten Project, a non-profit that’s co-run by Ariana, rescuing neonatal kittens, and providing them with medical care.
He loves cats, dogs, and cares deeply about the world around him, often speaking about social justice, and using his platform for the greater good. He struggled in 2018, but then became an All-Star in 2019, showing the world just exactly what he's made of.
After tonight, if you don't know his name, you will. And you'll remember it forever.
It’s been eight years since the most recent White Sox no-hitter was thrown by Philip Humber on April 21, 2012. Some franchises don't have a single no-no on their docket, but for the White Sox, 2012 was pretty much their last moment of competitive relevance. So perhaps this no-hitter is what truly slams the door shut on one of the ugliest stretches of baseball in franchise history.
Giolito threw the 19th no-hitter in White Sox history, the second-most all-time, behind the Dodgers at 26.
So, just how did Giolito do it?
Early on, Giolito retired Pirates hitters with effortless ease.
In the first inning, he lured Adam Frazier into a swinging strikeout on a low changeup, finishing the frame at just 11 pitches.
The little trouble he ran into came in the fourth, where he walked Erik González on four straight pitches, but was able to get through the inning without any doubt.
Fellow SSHP beat writer Sam Sherman noticed that he was locked in immediately, establishing himself ahead of hitters and just worked with proficiency, jamming hitters into popups whenever appropriate, and retiring this Pirates lineup with a kind of an indescribable, poetically seamless flow.
As someone who is deeply interested in strikeouts and strikeout pitches, I looked early to find where Giolito’s early successes were coming from:
The high heat seemed to be the out pitch in a few cases, the changeup low in others. James McCann called one heck of a beautiful game; the spots were presented, and Giolito found them.
What made up his repertoire for the evening? Early on, it appeared Giolito would be fastball-changeup dominant, with the slider sprinkled in when appropriate.
Much like his start from last week, Giolito and McCann were certainly locked into one another, Giolito deep into concentration. Through this whole sequence in the fifth inning, this fastball-changeup mix just left Pirates hitters absolutely mystified:
How masterful was Giolito tonight? Historically. Of his 101 pitches, he threw 47 fastballs, 38 changeups, and 16 sliders. That’s it. Giolito, a known strikeout pitcher, induced 30 swings-and-misses on Pirate hitters, and 18 called strikes, for a CSW of 48%. He once again tied his career high 13 strikeouts tonight, accomplishing this same feat five days ago.
Final Line: nine innings, no hits, no runs, a walk, 13 Ks — and a place in White Sox history.
Thank you, Lucas, for a night to remember.
Other stuff that happened
Predicting that the White Sox would perhaps fare well against Pirates starter Steven Brault might have been easy. The White Sox went into today’s game slashing .305/.375/.619 against left-handed pitching, and carrying a 7-0 record against left-handed starters.
It all started in the second inning, when Adam Engel grounded out to Pirates first baseman Josh Bell, scoring Luis Robert. Going back to the top of the order, Tim Anderson singled next, scoring James McCann and moving Danny Mendick to third, putting the White Sox up, 2-0.
The fun didn’t stop quite yet; Eloy Jiménez slapped a single to right field, scoring Mendick, and the White Sox began to induce a massive headache on Brault, making it 3-0.
And what’s a batterymate without a little run production? On some fantastic situational hitting, McCann drove in Yoán Moncada on a sacrifice fly with two strikes in the bottom of the third, making it 4-0.
I'm not sure if I want to look ahead, to be honest.
I'm actually kind of enjoying living in the moment, taking in what was absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime event. Did I cry? Maybe. Did you cry? I'm pretty sure you absolutely did.
The White Sox play their second of this short series with the Pirates of Pittsburgh tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. CT. Dallas Keuchel (4-2, 2.65) faces Trevor Williams (1-4, 3.70). Catch the game on NBC Sports Chicago, or on your radio at WGN 720.