White Sox's Giolito takes aim at Cubs -- and 11th W

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

(AP) -- Chicago White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito boasts victories in nine straight decisions as well as a 0.94 ERA in his past eight starts.

Those are gaudy numbers, to be certain, but Giolito is cognizant of his less-than-sterling statistics, too.

Entering his Wednesday interleague start against the crosstown rival Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Giolito realizes his most recent outing at the Friendly Confines wasn't so great -- although he did earn the victory despite 5 2/3 wild innings on May 13, 2018.

"I was all over the place," said Giolito, who is 1-1 with a 5.84 ERA in two career outings vs. the Cubs. "I ended up winning the game, but I had seven walks. So, yeah, that was definitely a little different than how I pitch now. I'd say I was effectively wild that day. I'm looking forward to going in there and filling up the zone."

Giolito (10-1, 2.22 ERA) has maintained his 2019 All-Star candidacy behind an aggressive, attacking approach. His eight-start winning streak includes 65 strikeouts against only 14 walks in 57 1/3 innings.

In his most recent outing, on Friday against the New York Yankees, Giolito became the first pitcher in the majors to reach 10 victories, scattering one run in six innings. After earning American League Pitcher of the Month accolades in May, Giolito has a 0.43 ERA and 26 strikeouts in his first three starts in June -- a stark contrast from the player who compiled a 6.13 ERA in 32 starts last season.

"In terms of performances, they speak for themselves," White Sox manager Rick Renteria told reporters of his ace. "You've got to give that kid a ton of credit for everything he's done to make adjustments to put him in the position he's in at this particular moment and the way he's performing.

"We're all amazed. I think everybody in baseball should be amazed at what this young man is doing and everybody should be extremely proud of him."

By contrast, Giolito's scheduled opponent Wednesday has fared far less favorably lately. Cubs left-hander Jon Lester (5-5, 4.08 ERA) has a 7.59 ERA in his past six start. He yielded three home runs in his most recent outing, a five-inning start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday -- a game the Cubs dropped 7-3, with Lester absorbing the loss.

Lester took a David Freese line drive to his left foot in the fourth inning but remained in the game after being checked by the trainer.

"I felt like I had great stuff," Lester told the media after the game. "I got beat by three opposite-field home runs. I would like to think that pitching to the big part of the field is still beneficial, but I guess it's not."

Lester is 9-6 with a 4.13 ERA in 17 career games against the White Sox. He won both of his starts against the South Siders last season but did not last longer than 5 2/3 innings in either outing.

The White Sox may get switch-hitting third baseman Yoan Moncada back in the starting lineup Wednesday. Moncada was held out of the lineup Tuesday due to recurring back tightness but entered the game as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning.

--Field Level Media

Updated June 19, 2019

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