Pirates 10, White Sox 6: Fast start fizzles as Giolito, bullpen can’t hold lead

33 games into 2018 and the Chicago White Sox still haven’t reached double-digit wins.

Things were looking great in the first inning as luck was on the Sox side. Leury Garcia led off the game with a hard grounder that ricochets off Pittsburgh Pirates starter Ivan Nova. Third baseman Colin Moran was able to field and made a strong throw to first base what was initially called an out. Using a challenge on the first at-bat was a successful move as the replay showed that Garcia barely beat the throw. With Garcia on first, Yolmer Sanchez hit a line drive right at left fielder Corey Dickerson. It appeared that Dickerson had a good handle on the play, and then suddenly he lost the ball. Garcia scored all the way from first base as Sanchez scooted to third base for a triple.

Up 1-0, Jose Abreu hit a chopper off the plate that was just high enough that the only play Moran had was to first base as Sanchez scored from third. Three batters in and the White Sox were up 2-0. The fun continued as Nicky Delmonico drew a nine-pitch walk to set the table for Welington Castillo, who sprayed a deep fly ball to right field that was guided by the wind for a two-run homer. With just one out, the White Sox were up 4-0 with the kind of start to push them to 10 wins on the season.

Then Lucas Giolito stepped on the mound for the second inning.

Corey Dickerson started the rally with a double which then followed by Giolito hitting Francisco Cervelli. After striking out Moran, recent call-up Jose Osuna singled to center scoring Dickerson to make it 4-1 and Cervelli advanced to third. He would score on Jody Mercer’s fielders choice as Yolmer Sanchez and Leury Garcia couldn’t complete the 5-4-3 double play in time. Thanks to Mercer’s feet the inning continued.

Giolito would walk Adam Frazier putting runners on first and second with Gregory Polanco up to bat. On a 2-1 pitch, Polanco laced a ground-rule double down the right-field line scoring Mercer and putting runners on second and third. Frazier would score on Starling Marte singled to left field that would tie the game, and Polanco tried to give the Pirates the lead but was thrown out by Nicky Delmonico at home plate. Giolito was given a four-run lead, and after allowing four hits, one walk, and hitting one batter, the game was tied 4-4.

In the bottom of the second, Jose Abreu helped the Sox re-take the lead. After Yolmer Sanchez singled, Abreu hit his sixth double of 2018 down the left field line. Sanchez scored from first base and the White Sox were up 5-4.

Giolito was able to maneuver the third and fourth innings without allowing any runs, but he was ineffective even to make it five innings. His final line of 4 IP 7 H 4 ER 2 BB 3 K was a disappointment considering how well he pitched in his last start in St. Louis. For 2018, Giolito has a 7.25 ERA in seven starts.

Handing it over to the Sox bullpen has been a disastrous plan early as Chris Volstad allowed three runs in the fifth inning. Then Luis Avilan allowed two runs in just 0.1 IP in the sixth inning, and Pittsburgh was rolling with a 9-5 lead. That would be pushed to a five-run lead as Joakim Soria allowed a run in the eighth to make it 10-5.

As a silver lining, Welington Castillo would hit his second homer of the game and his fifth of 2018 in the bottom of the eighth to make it 10-6. Hector Santiago pitched a clean ninth inning, but the White Sox outside of Castillo’s homer couldn’t muster any offense against the Pirates bullpen.

At 9-24, the 2018 White Sox are trying to avoid history as the 1948 squad won their 10th game at the 36-game mark. If the Sox can’t beat Pittsburgh tomorrow afternoon, they will have to try win one at Wrigley this weekend to avoid the worst start in team history.

At least the Birmingham Barons and Winston-Salem Dash won.

Record: 9-24 | Box Score

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

Articles: 877
9 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
ImmortalTimeTravelMan

Only thing more frustrating than Gio’s play this year: we’re on track for the worst start in team history and we still would be drafting 3rd next year…

As Cirensica

Being the best team or the worse are hard things to do

PopeDonnPall

To me, Gio’s been the most frustrating of the lot. I want to like him a lot. Smart, good sense of humor.

Came over with mixed reports, scuffled in AAA. Showed strong in September using mainly FB and change. No sign of CB, but showing good grit. GREAT spring with talk of spike in velo and finally showing his famed curveball as well.

And then it all went away. Now I see a guy with a straight as an arrow 91MPH FB he can’t locate, his curve and slider remain more often than now AWOL or at least not good enough to draw swings, and most frustrating is that he’s his own worst enemy. He falls off to the left and cringes or hops depending on what he things happened with the pitch.That’s not a good look when it’s done regularly. Still have the rest of the season to turn it around so I’m still supporting.But if he can’t get it under control he’ll be washed away by the eventual Kopech, Rodon, Dunning, Hansens of the world.

lil jimmy

He just throws too many pitches. He has brains and talent. He’ll figure it out.
Going to my first game today. I will bring back a winner.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan

You lied to me Jimmy!

As Cirensica

The rebuild is going swimmingly…

Trooper Galactus

Swimming in the sense that it’s going over a waterfall in a barrel.

Don’t forget the jagged rocks at the bottom…

Jason.Wade17

Well Eaton has only been worth 1 fWAR for the Nationals since the trade, while Giolito and Lopez have been worth 1.1 fWAR. I guess the Sox are winning the trade?