High school teammates Jack Flaherty and Lucas Giolito will stage a reunion duel when the St. Louis Cardinals visit the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.
Flaherty (8-0, 2.53 ERA for the Cardinals) and Giolito (3-4, 4.35 ERA for the White Sox) starred for Los Angeles high school powerhouse Harvard-Westlake along with Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried in 2012.
Ethan Katz, their pitching coach, is now the White Sox pitching coach. Flaherty said their head coach for all three hurlers, Matt LaCour, hoped to fly in for the game.
“This is super rare,” Flaherty said. “Coach coming out. And Ethan being on the other side. I don’t know when that’s ever happened or will ever happen again.”
With this game being played in an American League park, the designated hitter rule will prevent Flaherty and Giolito from actually facing each other while one is in the batter’s box.
“(Giolito) has tried to tell me he wishes he was hitting in this game,” Flaherty said. “I wanted to get in there and face him so I wish these would be different circumstances.”
Flaherty and Giolito have stayed in touch during their professional journey.
“We have a very, very strong relationship, and it runs from friendship to teammates and being in pro ball, obviously different organizations,” Giolito said. “Getting together in the offseason, working on things. I’ve asked him plenty of questions about his slider in the past, he’s asked me questions about my changeup. And kind of watching each other, all that kind of stuff. We’ve been doing that forever.”
The White Sox will be looking to generate new momentum in this three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field. After suffering a three-game sweep by the Yankees in New York, they defeated the Cardinals 5-1 on Monday in the series opener.
Giolito is coming off of his best start of the season for the White Sox. He held the Minnesota Twins to one run in eight innings while striking out 11 in a 2-1 victory last Wednesday.
“He really sets an example about how hard he competes,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “The ball was coming out of his hand well. He was outstanding, and that’s who he is. He’s outstanding.”
After posting a 5.68 ERA in five April starts, Giolito has settled in to record a 2.96 ERA in his first four starts this month.
He is 0-2 with a 5.56 ERA in two career starts against the Cardinals. In limited exposure, Giolito has struggled with Nolan Arenado (3-for-3, triple, homer, three RBIs), Yadier Molina (2-for-3) and Tommy Edman (1-for-3).
The Cardinals have won all nine games Flaherty has started this season. He has earned the victory in eight consecutive starts.
This will be his first career start against the White Sox.
Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson returned to the lineup after missing time with back stiffness. That became even more important when Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader exited Monday night’s game with a ribcage injury.
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said the initial imaging was reassuring, but Bader will undergo more testing.
“We’re optimistic there’s not a fracture,” he said after the game.
On another reunion note Carlson played high school ball with White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal in California. Their coach was Jeff Carlson, Dylan’s father.
–Field Level Media