Lucas Giolito’s return, new faces highlight Chicago White Sox starting pitching

The Chicago White Sox are wrapping up a five-game series with the Kansas City Royals, splitting the first four meetings. The White Sox notably are seeing their rotation not only return to form but start to see more than enough arms in the rotation.

The White Sox bounced back from a rough weekend against the New York Yankees with back-to-back wins. Moreover, the team received a start from Johnny Cueto, who made his first start of the season and might become a regular on the pitching staff now.

Cueto’s strong start

Johnny Cueto finally made it to the MLB roster and didn’t disappoint. On Monday, Cueto pitched six scoreless innings in a game the White Sox eventually won 5-3 in 10 innings.

What makes Cueto’s outing stand out is how he stepped up on the mound and his approach. At 36-years-old, Cueto isn’t going to overwhelm hitters with his stuff. Instead, the right-handed pitcher has to methodically attack batters, which he did constantly to the Royals lineup.

Cueto heavily relied on his slider and sinker in the game, two pitches that Dallas Keuchel, another veteran in the rotation often uses. However, unlike Keuchel, who has struggled at times this season, Cueto keeps hitters on their heels with his multiple windups, something he’s mastered in his 15 years on the mound. The quick pitch, the shimmy, and everything in-between mess with the batters’ timing.

Johnny Cueto’s Mechanics Isolated (3 consecutive pitches)

As a result, it’s likely the White Sox will continue to rely on Cueto, especially as the fifth or even sixth pitcher in the starting rotation.

Martin’s debut

Davis Martin was called up to make his debut in the MLB for Tuesday’s second game of a doubleheader. Martin looked nervous and understandably relied on his fastball in his first career start as a result. 44 of the 91 pitches thrown against the Royals were fastballs and they were all over the place, displaying his raw but high caliber talent.

Despite the struggles that many pitchers have in their first start, Martin still put together a strong game for the White Sox. The 25-year-old pitched five innings and allowed only one run while tossing seven strikeouts. It was the type of start that fans wanted to see from their young pitcher.

The offense didn’t help, scoring only one run in the 2-1 loss but the start gave fans a lot to look forward to, especially with the season progressing. Moreover, Martin proved that he has the pitches to become a viable starter in the rotation if he can start locating the strike zone and finding an ideal quadrant for the fastball.

White Sox get Giolito back

Lucas Giolito has had a rough start to the season, to say the least. His performance on the mound has been great but only two months into the season the top of the rotation starter has already gone to the injury list and the COVID-19 list this season. Giolito returned and pitched on Wednesday, leaving a chaotic shuffling of the roster.

Prior to tonight’s game at Kansas City, the #WhiteSox reinstated right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito from the COVID-19 related injured list, optioned right-hander Davis Martin to Class AAA Charlotte and transferred right-hander Lance Lynn to the 60-day injured list.

While the Royals tacked on two runs, Giolito looked like hadn’t missed a step. In five innings, Giolito had seven strikeouts with his fastball changeup combination leaving the Royals batters guessing throughout the night. The White Sox bullpen, which has been a strength this season, unraveled, allowing four runs in three innings. However, the game again showed the ceiling of the starting rotation, a rotation that helped the team win the division last year.

Giolito might not be the ace of the rotation this year, with Dylan Cease having a breakout season in the rotation. However, Giolito still has ace-caliber stuff and continues to make his mark on the pitching staff. The White Sox didn’t win the series, at least not the way fans hoped against a lowly Royals team, but it’s been that kind of start for this team, one they just have to power through before the wins start to pile in.

Do the White Sox have too many arms in the rotation?

Eventually, Lance Lynn will return to the rotation. Whether it’s late June or even early July, the White Sox will get Lynn back in the rotation, who was their best pitcher last season.

With Lynn back, the White Sox could potentially have a six or even seven-arm rotation, which in today’s game, is a good problem to have. However, the pitching staff at the moment could suffice with six pitchers and help keep every start well-rested.

In addition, the White Sox could use more pitchers on the roster altogether. Martin could by midseason become a starter that carries the backend of the rotation while Cueto could provide solid games once a week. The White Sox pitching staff is fine at the moment and one could argue is only looking more promising each week.

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