Lucas Giolito Pitches Seven-Inning No-Hitter
Count Carson Blair among those not surprised that righthander Lucas Giolito pitched a no-hitter for Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday.
"He's been throwing the ball well," said the 27-year-old veteran who was Giolito's batterymate in the 4-0 win over Syracuse (Nationals), Giolito's former organization. "This didn't come out of nowhere by any means."
Blair is correct. After going 0-3, 6.63 in April, Giolito is now 2-2, 4.61 in May following his seven-inning gem Thursday in the first game of a doubleheader. He has struck out 20 in 27.1 innings this month.
As he has done more frequently in the past three starts, the 6-foot-6, 255-pound righthander—acquired by the White Sox with Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning for center fielder Adam Eaton—pounded his fastball down in the zone and got swings and misses and weak contact with his slider. The improvement of his slider, added at the behest of White Sox coaches, is especially promising and was noticeable early, Blair said.
"By the fourth inning, I could tell he was really throwing the ball well," he said. "He's (usually) hard to read, but I could tell he was confident and feeling good."
Giolito needed just 87 pitches—50 strikes—as he took advantage of an aggressive Syracuse lineup. He had only three strikeouts, but induced plenty of weak contact and generated eight ground outs.
"I know some of the guys in their lineup pretty well, so I think I had a little advantage going in," Giolito said. "I worked well with Carson . . . I don't think I shook off a pitch, and they were swinging early and often."
In addition to adding a slider to his mix, Charlotte pitching coach Steve McCatty had exhorted Giolito to work on commanding his fastball, and that was evident Thursday.
"Fastball command is something I've been working on extensively," Giolito said, "and this was probably my best showing of it. Fastball command was huge tonight and it led to all the early, weak contact."
The no-hitter was the first for the Knights since July 25, 2013 when Andre Rienzo threw a seven-inning no-no against Indianapolis when the Knights were still playing in Fort Mill, S.C.
Nicky Delmonico, Danny Hayes and Adam Engel all homered to back Giolito.
Charlotte manager Mark Grudzielanek was impressed with his big righthander.
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"The high fastball worked in and out, the changeup looked good tonight," the former major league infielder said. "It was really nice to see him do that, and to top it off against his old team, so I'm sure he enjoyed that."