Last night, Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox tossed the first no-hitter of the 2020 season. That is an amazing achievement in itself, but to truly understand how special this is for Giolito, we have to take a look at the impressive transformation he has made as a pitcher.
Giolito has evolved into the perennial ace for this White Sox team. This no-hitter against the Pirates shows just how truly dominant he can be on the mound. Here are some quick stats regarding his no-no:
- Giolito threw 101 pitches, with 74 of them being strikes, walking just one.
- The Pirates had 30 swings and misses (MLB high for 2020 thus far).
- 48% of Giolito’s pitches were either called strikes or whiffs (CSW), which is also an MLB high for 2020.
- His no-hitter had the second-most whiffs in a no-hitter since 1988. Nolan Ryan got 31 whiffs in his 1990 no-no.
- The highest hit probability of the entire game came on the final out (85%), when Erik Gonzalez sharply lined out to right field.
- Giolito had 13 strikeouts—the most in a White Sox no-hitter.
- It was the 19th no-hitter in White Sox history. They have the second-most of all the MLB teams. The Dodgers lead with 23.
- First no-hitter in MLB history with no fans present.
Re-live all 27 outs here:
Giolito now has 13 strikeouts in back-to-back games, and after a shaky start, is now 3-2 with a 3.09 ERA this season. He has 58 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings, averaging 12.0 SO/9.
But, life in Major League Baseball has not always been this successful for Giolito. In fact, not long ago, he was quite bad.
Just two seasons ago in 2018, Giolito had the worst ERA in all of baseball among qualifying starters. He was 10-13 with a 6.13 ERA. On top of that, he gave up 118 runs and walked 90, both were worst in baseball.
There was a lot of figuring out to be done.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Giolito said that his wife, Ariana, saved some of the nasty and hurtful comments from social media that were posted to his Instagram account during the season.
To say Giolito turned things around the next season in 2019 would be an understatement.
He went 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA. He gave up 67 runs, as opposed to the league-leading 118 he gave up the year before. He also walked only 57, down from 90 in 2018. In 2018, Giolito had 125 strikeouts in 173 1/3 innings pitched, for an average of 6.5 SO/9. In 2019, his strikeouts skyrocketed. In just about the same number of innings pitched, 176 2/3, Giolito had 228 strikeouts, for an average of 11.6 SO/9. A truly remarkable transformation. In addition, he was a first-time All-Star, and finished 6th in the Cy Young voting. (All stats via Baseball Reference)
Giolito has credited a more compact delivery, as well as neurofeedback training to help his mental approach to pitching as reasons for his rapid turnaround.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Gioltio said Tuesday that “getting my ass kicked over and over” was exactly what he needed in order to make the necessary changes in himself to be able to “realize my true potential.”
After Giolito’s very successful 2019 campaign, Ariana showed him the comments and posts she had saved from the year prior to remind him just what he had gone through.
The haters are now silenced. Nobody can take away what Lucas has done, and the adversity that he has overcome. He is just the 19th White Sox pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter, and last night, the baseball world was shining on him.
Now, he is the ace of a very dangerous White Sox team, who look like they are going to be making playoff noise for the next several years.
Here are some clips of Giolito’s filth from last night:
Title Photo: Creator: David Banks | Credit: Getty Images