CHICAGO – Carlos Rodon is back in the White Sox’s starting rotation after missing the first third of the season recovering from shoulder surgery.
Top pitching prospect Michael Kopech should be in the starting five at some point in July, and Dane Dunning, Alec Hansen, Dylan Cease and Spencer Adams represent the next wave of Sox starters.
For now, Lucas Giolito is in the rotation. But as the Sox showed with Carson Fulmer, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2015 draft, they will demote starting pitchers that consistently fail to throw strikes.
“I think it’s the key to all pitchers’ success, fastball strike, command the zone,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “I think that you’ve got to trust what you’re capable of doing out there.”
Giolito showed he’s capable of pitching for the Sox late last season when he was 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA over his final six starts.
The 23-year-old righty has five quality starts this year, but a lack of command hurt Giolito again in Monday night’s start against the Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field.
In a 4-0 loss to Cleveland, Giolito pitched five innings and allowed four runs on four hits and four walks.
Giolito got the first two outs in the fourth inning of a scoreless game, but back-to-back walks to Yonder Alonso and Melky Cabrera proved costly. Both runners scored, and the Indians went on to defeat the Sox for the 10th time in 11 games dating to last season.
In 66 innings this year, Giolito has issued 43 walks.
Status quo: General manager Rick Hahn has been asked since the beginning of May about when Triple-A Charlotte starting pitcher Michael Kopech and Double-A Birmingham outfielder Eloy Jimenez are going to join the Sox, and that was the case again Monday.
Hahn has been consistent with his reply – he’s not sure.
“It’s going to be based strictly upon their own development and when they are ready for the next challenges presented by the big-league level,” Hahn said. “Eventually, they will tend to force that issue. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Eloy is going to stop in Charlotte.
“So those thinking his next stop is Chicago haven’t been paying attention to what the developmental plan is for him.
“Kopech, he’s put together a few real good starts and had others that still show you the elements he needs improvement in. But he’s certainly getting closer.”