Giolito without ‘much left in the tank' in decisive 7th


Lucas Giolito's a pretty talkative fellow.

So when the White Sox ace wasn't so chatty after Tuesday night's game, it was clear he wasn't too thrilled with how things played out.

Giolito's a competitive guy, too, and so the sheer result of the White Sox tilt with the division-rival Detroit Tigers, a 5-2 defeat, was surely bothersome to the team's top starting pitcher. He gave up a four runs and a couple homers, the game flipping in the seventh inning, when a leadoff walk came back to bite him and he watched the minimal lead disappear. He followed by giving up a two-run homer.

RELATED: Flu symptoms land Luis Robert on IL as COVID precaution

Plenty wondered why White Sox manager Tony La Russa left Giolito on the hill with the pitch count soaring over 100. Heck, some fans shouted that question at La Russa from the stands when he finally came out to take the ball from Giolito, a 2-1 White Sox lead changed, by then, to a 4-2 deficit.

But more surprising than the brevity of Giolito's comments postgame were these few words, his explanation for what went awry in the seventh inning:

"I didn't have much left in the tank."

Perhaps the pitcher was among those at Guaranteed Rate Field wondering why it took La Russa so long to come out of the dugout.

Of course, Giolito wasn't assigning blame to anyone but himself, that part of his media session no surprise.

"If it's my job to go out there and get outs, I've got to get them," he said. "It's on me, I've got to make better pitches.

"The seventh was my inning. I have to get the job done, I didn't. It doesn't matter how I'm feeling."

That's a lot of weight on Giolito's shoulders on a night when the White Sox offense came up almost laughably empty on repeated chances gifted to them by a Tigers defense that committed five errors. The South Siders were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position. As La Russa said, that's where the game was lost.

But his decision to stick with Giolito as the right-hander threw a season-high 114 pitches and gave up those three score-deciding runs was curious.

La Russa explained himself postgame, saying he expected Giolito to get out of the inning. Giolito has earned his status of one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Tigers came into Tuesday's series-opener with the game's worst record. Believing Giolito would end the inning is not a shocking expectation by any measure.

But Giolito's admission that he was gassed was news to the South Side skipper after the game, spurring La Russa to take responsibility for how the ace's outing came to an upsetting end.

"If he felt like he didn't have much left, then that's something I should have recognized," La Russa said. "I'm watching that game, and I'm confident he's capable of getting the outs that inning. If I had seen something different, I would have gotten him.

"He's a very honest guy, and if he felt like he didn't have much left, that's something to recognize because he's not going to pull himself out of that game."

That, too, is likely to rouse a Twitter rabble.

Giolito, indeed, had been mostly excellent through his first six innings of work, allowing one run and piling up the strikeouts in his first outing in more than a week. It was far better than his last, an uncharacteristic shelling at Fenway Park, when he couldn't get out of the second inning and didn't strike anyone out.

La Russa believed Giolito his finest chance to win in that situation. And Giolito's been so good that it's not the easiest point to argue against.

But the manager is also supposed to see the stuff that the average baseball viewer can't. That's why folks don't get plucked out of the crowd to serve as "Skipper for a Day."

With such a microscope on every nanosecond of this season, thanks to the championship expectations the White Sox created during the spring, each loss is stirring a lot more emotion — and shining a much more glaring spotlight — than 1/162 of a baseball schedule probably should.

But that's also why La Russa, the Hall of Famer with his three World Series rings, is here: to win.

And the White Sox sure didn't win Tuesday night.

Click here to subscribe to the White Sox Talk Podcast for free.

Contact Us