Giolito strikes out 11, too much for Royals in loss

Lucas Giolito, a first round pick by the Washington Nationals in 2012, has owned the Kansas City Royals this season. His last outing against the Royals came on Saturday, resulting in him tossing 7.2 scoreless innings in an eventual 2-0 win at Kauffman Stadium.

In that game, Giolito threw 118 pitches and only surrendered three hits while walking just two batters and striking out a whopping 11 Royals. His ERA now sits at a beautiful 2.26. Giolito turns 25 next month and isn’t slated to be a free agent until 2024.

Originally, Giolito was a part of the Nationals organization before they dealt him to the White Sox for Adam Eaton in the hopes that they could acquire another left-handed bat in the lineup. The Nationals are probably not happy to see Giolito dealing this season.

As for the rest of the game, it was pretty much that. A pitcher’s duel between Lucas Giolito and Brad Keller lasted for almost eight innings. Then, Giolito was pulled for Aaron Bummer, who made the last out in the bottom of the eighth.

“Giolito’s tough on everybody right now,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He has changed his whole delivery over the last year and a half, two years. Now he’s shortened up his arm stroke and his changeup is dynamic. It’s a plus-plus changeup. He’s got great arm speed. His slider’s a plus slider. Anywhere from 93 to 96 (mph) with his fastball, with command. He’s just kind of come into his own and quite frankly has developed into one of the best pitchers in this league.”

Royals manager Ned Yost was ejected in the sixth inning for arguing about balls and strikes, drawing an applause from the 20,889 fans at Kauffman Stadium.

Giolito (9-1) allowed three hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings and lowered his ERA to 2.28. He has allowed no more than one run in six of his seven straight wins. Giolito went 10-13 with a 6.13 ERA in 2018, his first full season.

The Royals have seen him more than anyone — he’s 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA in four starts against Kansas City this season.

Brad Keller tried to do his best to keep the game tied but rookie Eloy Jiménez hit a two-run homer in the second inning off Keller (3-8). This snapped a 42-inning homerless streak for Keller, who worked eight innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out four.

“Keller did a nice job minimizing damage, holding us to two runs,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “It was a pitching duel on both sides. It was a nice game.”

The Royals reached double figures in strikeouts for the 10th time in 15 games. Over this 15-game span, they have 149 Ks. Ryan O’Hearn is one player in particular who has been struggling. Today’s game marks the fifth consecutive multiple strikeout game.

On Sunday, the Royals will send RHP Glenn Sparkman (1-1, 3.77) to the mound against RHP Reynaldo Lopez (3-6, 6.62 ERA). Sparkman’s last start against the White Sox was cut short after a changeup hit shortstop Tim Anderson in the head. The Royals will try to win the rubber game of a series for the first time since May 30, 2018 — an 0-13 stretch in that situation.

 

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