White Sox's Lucas Giolito, Eloy Jimenez Focus On Performance, Not Hype

Giolito and Jimenez both starred against the Cubs on Saturday.

Bruce Levine
March 11, 2018 - 1:11 pm
White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito

Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports

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By Bruce Levine--

MESA, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- In front of a full house at Sloan Park on Saturday, White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito mowed down the Cubs wight eight strikeouts. Later in the game, it was young outfielder Eloy Jimenez who hit a two-run homer to tie a game that ended at 4-4. 

It was all a reminder that in the not too distant future, the rebuilding White Sox will be vying with the established Cubs for local and national headlines. The idea of that gets the juices flowing for the 23-year-old Giolito.

"They sell out here" Giolito said about the 15,000-plus fans at Sloan Park. "All the people on the lawn and in the outfield, it is a louder atmosphere than most spring training games. It gets you going a little bit. This is really a fun atmosphere to pitch in for sure, this early in the season."

Giolito went four innings and allowed one run on two hits and two walks.

"I was just trying to mix my it up a lot," Giolito said. "I was throwing the slider pretty much for strikes and was throwing the curveball a bit sharper, which is what I have been working on. With two strikes, I was able to get guys out with it. Overall my breaking stuff was working pretty well."

White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper sees improved composure in Giolito since he joined the White Sox late last season.

"He is doing a good job," Cooper said during the WGN-TV broadcast Saturday. "He is getting four pitches over for strikes. He has been working up and down in the zone. He elevates the fastball. He has the curveball working that gets them swinging even when it's in the dirt. He did everything we wanted him to."

Meanwhile, Jimenez -- acquired in the from the Cubs in the Jose Quintana trade last June -- has White Sox officials and fans salivating over what the future looks like. In a bit of drama Saturday, Jimenez didn't start because he's nursing a sore left knee, but then he got the call against Cubs right-hander Cory Mazzoni.

"I was asking (manager Rick Renteria) the whole game," Jimenez said of lobbying for an at-bat. "He said, 'OK let's do it.' I just went to the plate thinking hit the barrel of the bat. It happened."

A key for Giolito and Jimenez is to not get distracted by the hype.

"This isn't the dream yet," Jimenez said of hitting a spring training homer against his former team. "Whenever I am playing in the major leagues, that will be the dream."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.