By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The procession of young players and in particular pitchers continues at a rapid pace for the rebuilding White Sox, who watched as 23-year-old right-hander Lucas Giolito made his team debut in a 4-1 loss to the Twins on Tuesday evening at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Joining Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer in making their first big league starts of this season in recent weeks, Giolito went six innings, allowing four runs, all earned, on six hits while striking out four and walking none.
Giolito acquitted himself well early, allowing just two hits, including a solo shot to Jorge Polanco, through four innings in a 1-1 game. Kennys Vargas then took Giolito deep to lead off the fifth inning, and the long ball got Giolito in the sixth inning as well in the form of a two-run blast by Eddie Rosario.
“I felt good going in,” Giolito said. “I would say a few mistakes got me tonight. I was trying to go inside with the heater. I left a few over the middle. Guys up here (in the majors) are going to hit mistakes, and that is kind of what happened.”
The transition from highly touted prospect to effective big league pitcher isn’t an easy process. Fulmer — a first-round pick in 2015 — was reminded of that in his first big league start Monday, when he was rocked for six runs in 1 1/3 innings. Fulmer was returned to Triple-A after serving as the 26th man in the doubleheader.
Looking ahead, Giolito is confident and believes he’ll find success soon after going 6-10 with a 4.48 ERA at Triple-A this season.
“I feel like I belong,” Giolito said. “I feel like my stuff plays. I did not walk anyone tonight. I was able to command the fastball pretty well.”
Giolito and Lopez came to the Sox in the Adam Eaton trade with the Nationals last December. Both had a cup of coffee with call-ups to Washington last season.
Giolito got by mostly with his fastball and change-up Tuesday, as he threw 69 fastballs among his 99 pitches. His curveball wasn’t working, and that caused Giolito to look to move his fastball in and out, up and down.
“I thought it was a very positive outing for him,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “His fastball was very good. His mound presence was good. He looked very very good to me.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.