The Chicago White Sox are making their first postseason appearance since 2008. Right-handed starter Lucas Giolito, who received the nod in Game 1 of their Wild Card Series against the Oakland Athletics, almost made it a very memorable playoff return.
Giolito delivered six perfect innings to begin the game, his first playoff appearance, and didn’t permit a baserunner until the bottom of the seventh inning. That’s when Tommy La Stella knocked a 2-2 pitch into center field. Prior to that at-bat, Giolito had recorded six strikeouts and required just 73 pitches to retire the first 18 Athletics hitters he faced.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Giolito was the first pitcher to be perfect through six innings of a playoff game since New York Yankees right-hander Mike Mussina did it against the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the 2004 American League Championship Series. If Giolito had found a way to secure the perfect game, it would’ve been only the second in postseason history. The first, and only, belonged to New York Yankees righty Don Larsen, who shut down the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.
Instead, Giolito finished his afternoon having yielded a run on two hits and a walk in a 4-1 victory. (The other hit versus Giolito was a Jake Lamb single.) He struck out eight Athletics on 100 pitches. He also generated 13 swinging strikes along the way, including five on his fastball, six on his slider (on nine swings total), and two on his trademark changeup.
Giolito already made history once this year with a dominant pitching performance. He threw a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 25, striking out 13 and walking just one batter. On the season, he posted a 3.49 ERA in 12 appearances.