CHICAGO — Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito, two of the key cogs in the White Sox rebuild, had far from perfect pre-All-Star break results, much like the White Sox as a whole.
But the White Sox future looked pretty darn good in the present Sunday afternoon during a 10-1 victory over the Royals. That victory took the South Siders into the All-Star break with their first series win since June 26-28 at home against the Twins.
“Today was one of those days where we put it all together,” said Giolito, who improved to 6-8 with Sunday’s victory. “I’m looking forward to more of those.”
“It wasn’t a very good first half in wins and losses, but I think that’s part of the process,” Moncada said through interpreter Billy Russo. “We’re all trying to do our best. We improved during the first half, and I think in the second half we’ll be much better.”
Moncada is hitting .356 with four multi-hit efforts over his last 12 games. He fell a triple short of the cycle and reached base four times Sunday, meaning he reached base nine times over three games against the Royals this past weekend.
Moncada’s solo home run against Enny Romero leading off the fifth started a five-run frame, and also marked his first hitting right-handed this season.
“I think it gives me a little more confidence. It’s something good,” said Moncada, who left early Saturday after being hit on the right knee by a Reynaldo Lopez pickoff throw. “That’s just a part of all the work I put into trying to get better, to improve and become a better player.”
Giolito started out slow on the mound, needing 30 pitches to get through the first. But he adjusted quickly, allowing one hit over the next 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three without allowing a run, following a three-hit performance over 7 1/3 innings in his previous start against the Astros.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria basically chopped Giolito’s first half into two halves, pointing out it took him maybe an inning or an inning-plus to find the groove as he improved, as opposed to three or four innings during earlier struggles.
“First quarter of the season I guess, you could say I was kind of searching for things,” said Giolito, who leads the American League with 60 walks. “I wasn’t really throwing strikes, especially with my off-speed pitches. I was going out there throwing pretty much all heaters whereas now, I can find that rhythm, and if I do misfire a couple pitches in the same at-bat, I make the adjustment a lot better. It’s just overall a lot better experience.
“To be walking that many batters and not doing a good job of putting my team in winning positions, it definitely weighed on me. … Over the course of the first half, it’s gotten better and better and better, so I’m just looking forward to the second half now.”
Daniel Palka chipped in three hits, including a home run with a 114-mph exit velocity, per Statcast™, in the first. Everyone in the lineup but Adam Engel reached base at least once, and everyone but Engel and AL All-Star Jose Abreu had at least one hit during the team’s third win in four games.
“I wouldn’t say that the first half was bad because it’s just a part of the process,” said Abreu through Russo. “We have a lot of young players here with a lot of talent, and they need to learn, they need to improve, they need to show what they are capable of. I think in the first half, we did a little bit of that.”