October 7, 2021
Houston, Texas, USA
Minute Maid Park
Chicago White Sox
Pregame 1 Press Conference
Q. What do you expect out of Lance today?
LUCAS GIOLITO: I expect Lance to go out there and do his thing. I know that he prepares about as well as anybody in this league. He's put up great numbers all year. So just expect him to go out and obviously give his best effort to give us the best chance to win today.
Q. Lucas, you were kind of able to get that first playoff start out of the way in the Wild Card game last year. How does that kind of help you prepare for tomorrow and maybe have a little bit less pressure going into the game?
LUCAS GIOLITO: I'm definitely not as nervous as I was last year. The nerves kind of ended up working in my favor, kept me focused. But having experience in anything is going to make you more prepared for the next time you do it.
That was a good one. I'm looking forward to having another good one tomorrow.
Q. You've had success against the Astros in the past. You've had success in this building. Does that have any carryover for help into tomorrow, or is it just a whole new ball game?
LUCAS GIOLITO: Yeah, I can draw from experience. I like this ballpark. I like this mound. But at the same time, every single game's different. So a pitcher can go out there with good stuff, bad stuff, somewhere in between.
You've got to make sure that, kind of what I said about Lance, keeping my preparation as sound as possible and being ready to go tomorrow. That's all that matters.
Q. Can you illuminate us at all in regard to just the process of how the number one versus number two starter is determined? Did you get a chance to make your case verbally? And how was it sort of interpreted to you how it shook out?
LUCAS GIOLITO: That was never my decision at all. That's determined by our coaching staff and front office. That's all strategic. So I'm not really going to go into details on that, but for me personally, I'm going to pitch whether it's Game 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. It doesn't matter to me. That's my day, and I'm going to take the ball and do my absolute best. That's all I care about.
Q. What do you like about the mound in the ballpark? And as far as the Astros, what do you think about the matchup, how you match up against them?
LUCAS GIOLITO: It's hard to like be specific on the mound itself. I just kind of like the feel of it, at least from what I remember of it. I haven't pitched here in a while.
Then any time it's a ballpark with a roof, I enjoy it, air conditioning.
Q. We talked about the value of your experience from last year, but Tony has more experience than anybody in a uniform. Is there anything he's imparted to you guys or shared about the playoff journey and how to navigate?
LUCAS GIOLITO: Yeah, we've talked a lot. Leading up to the playoffs, we've had meetings. He's definitely, with his wealth of experience, talked to us about preparation, talked to us about obviously the differences between playoff baseball and regular season baseball and how fun it can be.
Again, like I don't want to be giving away stuff, so I'll leave it at that.
Q. Is there anything in general that you learned from him this season or how did he match up to whatever you expected him to be like as a manager?
LUCAS GIOLITO: It kind of started the first conversation I had with him in the off-season right when he was hired. I was expecting Tony La Russa, Hall of Fame manager, to be very strict, be very like I'm in charge, like this is what we're going to do. And I was very surprised when like in our first conversation, he told me that I'm coming over. This is your guys' team, and I'm going to earn your respect. I'm going to work every day to earn your respect starting in day one of Spring Training, and he's done that.
That was kind of -- that kind of showed me the type of person he is, not just baseball manager, but just a great person. It's a pleasure to be playing for him this year.
Q. Lucas, you talked about this, and your teammates have talked about this, but do you still kind of marvel at what JosÃ© has gone through this year and still have 117 RBIs and 30 home runs and still have the production he usually has. He's been pretty much beat up since Spring Training, but keeps going out there.
LUCAS GIOLITO: I mean, that's would JosÃ© is. He'll give anything for this team, anything for all the guys that play alongside him. Yeah, I can't say I'm surprised at all. He has been through a lot this year. Obviously going through stuff right now.
He's got some of the most heart I've ever seen in a baseball player, and it's such a pleasure to be teammates with him and be able to watch him do what he does.
Q. If you can sort of analyze it, if you don't mind, is this a better White Sox team this year than the one that ran out for the playoffs last year? Do you feel that? What, if anything, is different about the feeling that you guys carry into the postseason?
LUCAS GIOLITO: I'd say we're definitely a better team than last year. I'd say talent level pretty similar, but I'll give the edge to this year's team. Then I'd say focus is higher. I'd say the experience is higher for all of us, especially a bunch of the guys that we acquired through trades and free agent signings.
It's just another year. We finally got that postseason experience last year that left us wanting more, so now we're very hungry. We're here to do as well as we can.
Q. You had the remarkable turnaround a few years ago. This season too there was a turnaround, maybe not as drastic, maybe not the same, but how did it happen for you this year? How would you summarize the first half compared to the second half, and what's different?
LUCAS GIOLITO: I think that in the first half there were just times that I wasn't really in sync mechanically, focus-wise. I let some starts just get away from me early.
During the All-Star break, I really took some time to kind of refresh, and then I came back a lot more focused, a lot more focused on each and every start, my preparation. I mean, top to bottom, scouting reports, knowing what I should be doing in any given situation, how I should be pitching, and then tightening up some things, especially the breaking balls, and that definitely made a huge difference.
Q. The team went out -- the front office went out and got Lance this off-season because it seemed like something that you guys needed. What has he meant to this team and this pitching staff this year?
LUCAS GIOLITO: He's meant so much. It's kind of hard to put into words. He's been a leader both through example and through sometimes verbally. He's helped me out tremendously. He's helped Carlos out. He's helped Dylan out. He's just been a wonderful clubhouse presence. He's super funny. So that's always welcomed in our clubhouse.
Yeah, his competitiveness when he's out there, it's really, really fun to watch and fun to learn from as a younger pitcher. So I think that, along with how well he's pitched this year, he's been such a great acquisition for us.
Q. Tony talked about the willingness to use some of the starters on short rest if need be in series going forward. Is that something you've done in your career, and what's the adjustment process to handle that?
LUCAS GIOLITO: I'm trying to think. I don't think I've ever pitched on short rest in my career, but at this point in the season, I don't care. Like if I'm pitching three days in a row, I'll do it, whatever the team needs for us to be able to win games.
I've done a good job this year personally of keeping my body right, keeping my body fresh. I feel really good going into the playoffs. Again, like none of this stuff is my call. It's whatever's asked of me, I'm going to be willing to do it.
Q. Was there any difference this year in returning to a normal workload for a pitcher after a truncated season last year?
LUCAS GIOLITO: I didn't really find much of one because last year Spring Training was cancelled, went home, and I got to work immediately kind of building my workload up even though they weren't like real MLB games, but like going out and doing live bullpen sessions and things like that to where I was like logging innings.
So last year, I finished with 80 innings pitched, but in reality, it was a lot more work than that to prepare for this year to where this year, like I said, I've been feeling pretty good, and I've been able to chug along pretty good throughout the season.
I know that everyone's different. Some guys have dealt with injury. We definitely had a lot of that this year. Maybe the different workloads have something to do with it, but I'm not a medical expert. So I don't know.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports