For the 19th time in franchise history, a Chicago White Sox pitcher has thrown a no-hitter. This time around it was the staff ace, Lucas Giolito taking down the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 4-0 victory. It is the first career no-hitter for Giolito. Here’s everything you need to know behind the first no-no of the season.
The history behind this
This is the first White Sox no-no since Philip Humber threw a perfect game in Seattle on April 21, 2012. Overall, this is the 304th no-hitter in MLB history. It’s the first of the 2020 season, even including combined no-hitters. The most recent no-hitter was delivered by Astros ace Justin Verlander on Sept. 1, 2019. There were four no-hitters last season.
Giolito’s pure dominance in missing bats and weak contact
Giolito walked one, preventing him from the much more elusive perfect game. He wasn’t just dominant in preventing hits, he was missing bats all night. He ended up with 13 strikeouts while getting six groundball outs and five flyball outs. He got 30 swing-and-miss strikes. There was only one hard hit ball until the final hitter of the game, a Josh Bell lineout that clocked in at 106.6 miles per hour, so there was some level of good fortune on that one. The final out was also well struck, but right at the right fielder Adam Engel. Otherwise it was all missed bats and soft contact and that’s all Giolito taking over the game. Here is the final out:
Speaking of that final out
Hoo boy that was a close one. Watching Giolito’s reaction you can tell he was worried he lost the no-hitter with two outs in the ninth. He didn’t thanks to positioning and the direction of the ball, because it was definitely well struck enough to be a hit. Baseball Savant uses exit velocity and launch angle to determine how often a ball is a hit. The expected batting average on a line drive with that velocity and height? .850. For more on that final play, here’s a good breakdown from Dayn Perry.
Good signs from Giolito with a caveat
Giolito, a 2019 All-Star, got off to an inconsistent and somewhat worrisome start to the season, but he’s now logged back-to-back dominant starts. Last time out, he only allowed three hits and a walk in seven scoreless innings while striking out 13 and now the no-hitter. Of course, these starts came against the Tigers and Pirates, respectfully, but they could well get his confidence back in the right way and get him into the dominant territory he was in the first half last season. His next start comes against the Royals, so he’s likely to keep the good groove going.
Giolito’s career turn-around
In 2018, Giolito posted a 6.13 ERA, which was the worst in the majors among qualified starters. He led the league in walks in earned runs while wild pitches and hit batsmen were also a problem.
Heading to the next offseason, Giolito made some adjustments. He stopped throwing his sinker and instead concentrated on hammering fourseam fastballs high in the zone. That was on display during this outing in a big way. He also changed his position on the mound and it has helped get a handle on his control. Again, that was in full display during this game. He very rarely missed his spots until late when adrenaline was likely taking over.
White Sox are on fire
The White Sox as a team, meantime, are going just as well. They have won eight of their last nine with the only loss being in a one-run game where Yu Darvish — who is dominating everyone — was the opposing starter. They now sit 18-12 exactly halfway through their season, looking like a strong playoff team. They still have 14 games left against the Tigers, Royals and Pirates, too. If they keep going like this, they might even end up the host team for a three-game series in the first round and it’s possible to grab being the home team for the divisional round, too. They are tough.
The Pirates are not
Sure, it doesn’t take anything away at all from Giolito to say this, because he still got 27 outs without giving up a hit against a big-league team. The Pirates haven’t been no-hit all season, so it’s a major feat. We’re just saying separate of the incredible feat, the Pirates are now 7-18 on the season. They are now hitting .221 on the season.