Sox observations: Giolito battles through bad control originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Just two days after clawing their way back to a winning record, the White Sox once again find themselves below .500. The same bugaboos continue to haunt the team: a lack of clutch hitting, and mistakes in the field. It’s the middle of May, so what once could be explained away by a slow start due to a shortened Spring Training, can now only be described as a troubling trend. Here are the three biggest takeaways as the South Siders fell to 18-19.
LUCAS GIOLITO STRUGGLES, THEN SETTLES
In his return from the COVID-19 list, Giolito didn’t have his best stuff and struggled to locate his fastball. He missed high in the zone frequently and had to work around a couple of jams in the first two innings. But Giolito kept grinding and made it through the fourth and fifth innings without too much trouble (with a little help from a caught-stealing, too). In the end, Giolito’s lack of control drove up his pitch count and he was only able to make it through five innings. Holding the Royals offense to two runs despite the struggles was an impressive display of fortitude, even though the White Sox didn’t get the win.
ONE GAMBLE CHANGES THE GAME
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Royals had a man on first and one away when Emmanuel Rivera stepped up to the plate with the game tied 2-2. Rivera ripped a line drive to right field that seemed to hang in the air a bit. Adam Engel, who routinely makes spectacular plays in the outfield, looked like he had a chance to record another highlight reel out with a diving attempt. But the ball fell just below Engel’s glove and skittered to the wall, and Rivera had a stand-up RBI triple. Two pitches later, Kyle Isbel sent a lazy fly ball to center field for another run, and the Royals all of a sudden had a 4-2 lead. With the White Sox offense mired in its slump, that was all KC needed for the win, but it could have gone differently. If Engel had played it safe and let the ball bounce in front of him, the following pop fly and ground out wouldn’t have plated any runs, and the game would’ve remained tied. That’s not to say Wednesday’s loss lies squarely on Engel’s shoulders. The Sox had plenty of chances to score more runs of their own, and we’ve already reviewed Giolito’s struggles. But that one play certainly changed the complexion of the evening.
TIM ANDERSON DOES IT ALL
Anderson has come under scrutiny for his nine errors in just 31 games this season. Heading into Wednesday’s game, that number led MLB. It’s also uncharacteristic for Anderson. To give you some added perspective, he only committed 10 errors in 122 games last year. But on Wednesday, Anderso looked like the dynamic shortstop fans are used to watching. He showed great range when scooping up ground balls, and was accurate with his throws to first, even when he had to leap in the air to make a play.
Of course, Anderson has been the Sox’ best hitter this season, and that trend continued, too. He went 3-5, raising his average to .338, and driving in one of the Sox’ two runs.
Click here to follow the White Sox Talk Podcast.
Download MyTeams Today!