Chicago White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito will try to bounce back when he faces the visiting Cleveland Indians in the rubber match of a three-game series Sunday afternoon.
Giolito pitched masterfully in 2019 and 2020, racking up a combined 325 strikeouts in 249 innings while going 18-12 with a 3.43 ERA. However, he has not found that consistent dominance in 2021, and he will carry a 1-2 record and a 5.68 ERA into his sixth start of the season.
“If it’s my job to go out there and get outs, I’ve got to get them,” Giolito said after his most recent setback, a loss against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. “It’s on me. I’ve got to make better pitches.
“The seventh was my inning (against the Tigers). I have to get the job done. I didn’t.”
The White Sox have won three of their past four games and seven of nine. They are coming off a 7-3 win over the Indians on Saturday in which Tim Anderson hit his second career grand slam and Leury Garcia drove in three runs.
Cleveland also has played well as of late, winning four of its past six games despite Saturday’s defeat. The Indians won the series opener 5-3 against the White Sox on Friday night.
In seven matchups between the teams this season, Chicago leads 4-3.
Cleveland right-hander Zach Plesac (1-3, 5.81 ERA) also is looking for a strong performance in the series finale after a turbulent start to the season. Plesac already has faced the White Sox twice this season, and on both occasions he gave up six earned runs.
The first matchup for Plesac was the worst, as he lasted only two-thirds of an inning and gave up seven hits. He was better in the second meeting but still not sharp as he allowed six runs on seven hits in five innings.
Plesac, 26, is 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA in seven career starts against the White Sox.
By comparison, the 26-year-old Giolito is 2-2 with a 2.26 ERA in eight career starts against Cleveland. That includes a dominant outing this season in which he pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits but getting a no-decision April 13. He walked two and struck out eight.
The Indians could give another start to Daniel Johnson, a highly touted prospect who joined the team this weekend. Johnson took the place of Franmil Reyes, who was placed on the paternity list.
Johnson went 1-for-12 during a brief stint with the Indians in 2020. He went 0-for-4 on Saturday.
“[The coaches at the alternate training site] said he was swinging the bat pretty well,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “DJ actually had a pretty good swing, and I know he wasn’t really pleased when we told him he wasn’t making the team, so this is his chance to kind of show what he can do.”
Francona said it was hard to tell Johnson that he would start the season at the team’s alternate site.
“You kind of give the player a little room and hopefully at some point they realize you don’t have it out for them,” Francona said. “He may not agree with your decision, but you certainly don’t want it to linger.”
–Field Level Media