NO-NO MORE PROOF THAT SOX HAVE ARRIVED
Giolito’s no-hitter just latest feat in season full of exciting exploits by wildly entertaining Sox
The White Sox’ entertainment value is absurd these days. Just absurd.
On Tuesday night, it was Lucas Giolito’s turn to captivate the masses. All that talent of his coalesced in nine innings of near perfection, a 13-strikeout, onewalk no-hitter against the Pirates at Guaranteed Rate Field.
For the Sox, the hits just keep coming, with each day seeming to bring a new homage to youth and talent and the special gift of not knowing any better. If it’s not Giolito’s 4-0, no-hit victory, it’s Jose Abreu’s home run-alooza against the Cubs. If it’s not the Sox’ four straight home runs in a game against the Cardinals, it’s their six home runs in a game against the Tigers a day later.
All that in a 10-day span. Insane fun.
Sox tickets are impossible to get. OK, bad COVID-19 joke, but thank goodness for this team in these dark times. And thank goodness for Giolito on a warm Chicago night with nobody in the stands because of a stupid pandemic that has worn out a welcome it never got in the first place.
Giolito threw 101 pitches. Pirates batters swung and missed at 30 of them. In words, that stat is a hitter saying, “Your guess is as good as mine.’’ Giolito threw heat. He threw breaking balls that initially looked like water but turned out to be a dry, dusty mirage.
He’s the son of an actress and the grandson of an actor, so it makes sense that the last out, a real cliffhanger, would be slathered with climactic tension. On an 0-2 count, the Pirates’ Erik Gonzalez ripped a low line drive to right. The ball was struck on the meat of the bat, and it had “no
hitter buzzkill’’ written all over it.
Upon contact, Giolito’s body language spoke of defeat and resignation, but his body didn’t know what it was talking about. Adam Engel got a great jump and made a difficult play look fairly easy, bending low to snag the ball out of the air. Giolito had his no-hitter, statistically perhaps the most dominant in team history, though Mark Buehrle’s two-hour, three-minute perfect game in 2009 might beg to differ.
These Sox. After all they put their fan base through during a painful rebuild, now they deliver with a 10-day epic saga that makes you fully understand what all the fuss is about. All this talent — Giolito, Abreu, Tim Anderson, Luis Robert. Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, etc. Dylan Cease has put together five good starts. Cease is young, right? Well, the 26-year-old Giolito is only a year and a half older.
The Sox lead the majors with a .267 batting average and a .479 slugging percentage.
So many good things going on here. I’m already thinking about next year’s possibilities, and I should probably stop that. This year’s realities are more than enough. Beating the Cubs two out of three was further evidence of a team heading into orbit, with Abreu apparently mistaking the Crosstown Classic for the Home Run Derby. He hit six homers in the series and was named American League Player of the Week.
Even baseball transgressions are ridiculously entertaining with these guys. On Aug. 17, Robert strayed far from center field into left to catch a ball so clearly Jimenez’s that, if the matter had gone to court, a jury would have found him guilty of felony trespassing. And Jimenez played the moment perfectly, never moving and giving Robert a long “you’ve got to be kidding me’’ stare. Robert laughed. When you’re young, either things fit or you make them fit. That’s all.
Giolito didn’t get the in-house celebration he deserved. Teammates swarmed him after the last out, but there were no fans in attendance to watch it, unless you count the cardboard cutouts, and if you do, stop.
“They turned up the crowd noise,” Giolito told MLB Network, laughing. “It felt like every single inning, the crowd noise got louder. By the ninth inning, the crowd noise got crazy. It felt like there were 35,000 people here.”
It has been a strange year. We deserve a wonderful story like the Sox. The victory Tuesday was the eighth in their previous 10 games. But it’s not just the winning that’s wonderful. It’s the way they’re doing it, with mighty swings and grand, oversized performances. It’s great fun, and it’s contagious, the good kind of contagious.
So you do what you have to do each day during the pandemic, and you wait to see what this team will do next. You shake your head at all of it. You smile at the good parts.
These Sox. Absurdly entertaining.
Lucas Giolito celebrates with catcher James McCann after closing out his nohitter against the Pirates on Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Lucas Giolito had 13 strikeouts in the no-hitter against the Pirates. In his previous outing against the Tigers, he also struck out 13 batters.