Sat Jul 20 9:45am ET
Chicago White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito followed his first career All-Star appearance by losing to the Kansas City Royals for the first time in his career on Monday night.
Giolito chalked his struggles up to the oddities of the midseason break before aiming for a return to form Saturday in a start against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"Coming off the All-Star Game just going out and trying to blow it out for one inning and then off a long time between starts, there's going to be games when I don't have my best velocity," Giolito said. "And that's when I really have to do a better job of executing. I think my fastball command kind of got worse as (Monday) night went on. That's just part of it. Just need to get back in the gym, get my legs right, and we'll see it creep back up."
Seeking his first victory since June 30, Giolito (11-4, 3.23 ERA) has worked at least six innings just once in his past five starts. He has one victory, three losses and one no-decision during that span while watching his ERA climb just over one full run. It stood at 2.22 after Giolito defeated the New York Yankees with six innings of one-run ball on June 14, earning his eighth straight victory in as many starts.
"He's managing right now," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "That's the reality of a full season. This is uncharted territory for him, being as effective going deep into games. His body is learning how to deal with it."
The White Sox snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 9-2 victory Friday in the series opener. Leadoff man Leury Garcia went 4-for-5 with three doubles, and Reynaldo Lopez pitched seven innings of two-run ball to propel the visitors to a bounce-back victory, their first win of a 10-game road trip out of the All-Star break.
"I'm not down on my guys," Renteria said after Chicago's 6-5 loss at Kansas City on Thursday. "We are going to keep playing and keep doing what we have to do to try to put ourselves back on track."
Tampa Bay lost its fourth straight game. The Rays were admittedly weary after arriving home in the wee hours of Friday morning after getting swept by the Yankees in a doubleheader on Thursday in the Bronx.
"We have gotten to the point this season where we've talked about making the most of opportunities, and we're just not getting it done," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "It's putting all kinds of pressure on our pitching staff, and themselves on defense when they're out there. With nothing to work with, it's challenging."
Left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (8-3, 4.26 ERA) is set to start for the Rays in his second career appearance against the White Sox. Yarbrough, who has not faced Chicago this season, owns an 8.44 ERA in 5 1/3 innings against the White Sox.
Giolito is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two career starts against the Rays, scattering 16 strikeouts, four walks and one home run allowed in 14 innings. He has not faced Tampa Bay this season.
--Field Level Media
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