Gregor: Giolito says this White Sox team has a 'killer instinct'

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito (27) reacts after closing out a no hitter at the end of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Chicago.

    Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito (27) reacts after closing out a no hitter at the end of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Chicago. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 2/16/2021 6:14 PM

Lucas Giolito knows what's what.

He understands what it's like to be a terrible pitcher, which he was in 2018 when he posted the highest ERA (6.13) in the major leagues.

 

Giolito knows what it's like to play for bad teams, which the White Sox were his first three years in uniform.

Conversely, Giolito has experienced success on a personal level the last two seasons, and he was a key performer on a winning Sox team in 2020.

Now, the 26-year-old starter is looking for more.

With White Sox pitchers and catchers set for their first workout of spring training Wednesday at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., Giolito was asked where things stand.

"We're at the point now where the word rebuild is completely out of the vocabulary," Giolito said Tuesday. "We're a very, very good team and we expect to win. That's pretty much where we're at."

Early eyes are likely to be on 76-year-old Tony La Russa, the White Sox's new manager.

Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf took expected heat for hiring his close friend, who has been away from the dugout since 2011. But La Russa does have three World Series rings and a plaque in the Hall of Fame, so he is familiar with winning.

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Having a starting rotation fronted by Giolito, Dallas Keuchel and newcomer Lance Lynn gives La Russa a good shot at picking up where he left off.

"This rotation can be one of -- if not the best -- in baseball," said Giolito, who pitched a no-hitter against the Pirates last August and was brilliant in Game 1 of the playoffs vs. the Athletics. "Lance brings a bulldog mentality. The guy takes the ball and goes deep. His track record has been fantastic the last few years. He's come from winning organizations.

"The back end of our rotation, we have a few options that I think are fantastic. (Dylan) Cease, Reynaldo (Lopez), Carlos (Rodon), I've been watching them throw, light bullpen work, and their stuff looks very, very good right now. I can tell they've been putting work in this offseason. Now we just continue to grow from there."

Making the playoffs for the first time since 2008 last year was a good first step for the White Sox, but Giolito knows they unraveled down the stretch and didn't play their best in the postseason.

"Getting knocked out in the first round wasn't what we had in the cards, but that disappointment is only going to serve as motivation for now," Giolito said. "That's pretty much the goal, to keep getting deeper and deeper into the playoffs. I think that after last year, we're really going to adopt that mentality TA (shortstop Tim Anderson) was talking about, where we need to try to kill other teams until the very end.

"It doesn't matter what our record is, it doesn't matter if we're in the playoffs, if we're leading the division. All that matters is we go out there expecting to win a game every single day, no matter if it's April or September or the postseason, and we have that killer instinct, that killer mentality as a whole and we just get the job done."

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