White Sox look to keep momentum rolling vs. struggling Pirates

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Luis Robert connected for two of the Chicago White Sox five home runs on Sunday as the American League Central leaders punctuated a stretch of 17 games in 18 days with a 13-1 rout of the Chicago Cubs.

“I think that everybody on this team knows that we can do what we did today,” Robert said through an interpreter. “That’s our goal and our mindset, just go out there and do our best and do what we did today. That’s something that we all know that we can do, and that’s the quality of this team.”

Following a day off, Chicago will aim to keep those good vibes intact Tuesday as the Pittsburgh Pirates arrive for the opener of a two-game interleague series.

The Pirates’ visit to Guaranteed Rate Field figures to bode especially favorably for White Sox scheduled starter Lucas Giolito, who threw a no-hitter against the Pirates on the same diamond a little more than a year ago.

Giolito struck out 13 and walked one to highlight a 4-0 victory on Aug. 25, 2020, throwing 74 of his 101 pitches for strikes. He is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in three career starts against Pittsburgh, with 23 strikeouts in 19 innings. He took a no-decision at Pittsburgh on June 22, yielding two runs in six innings.

Although he has searched for consistency this season, Giolito (9-9, 3.68 ERA) pitched well on Chicago’s recent seven-game road trip to Tampa Bay and Toronto. The right-hander scattered three earned runs, eight hits, 14 strikeouts and one walk over two starts, both no-decisions.

Righty Bryse Wilson (2-5, 4.35 ERA) is set to get the call for the Pirates as he aims to build off Wednesday’s no-decision against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He pitched five scoreless innings while spacing two hits, two walks and seven strikeouts.

Wilson has not faced the White Sox in his career and has a 7.07 ERA in six interleague appearances, including two starts, covering 14 innings.

Pittsburgh capped a 4-3 homestand against Arizona and St. Louis with a walk-off, 4-3 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday, as Yoshi Tsutsugo reached St. Louis closer Alex Reyes for a game-ending, three-run home run.

Tsutsugo has launched five home runs among his nine hits since signing with Pittsburgh on Aug. 16, and on Sunday lauded “the manager, the staff, my teammates” for making it “really easy for me to transition in this team.”

He will have to be flexible again, however, as the Pirates on Monday parted ways with hitting coach Rick Eckstein. The club entered Monday ranked 30th in the major leagues in runs scored, home runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage plus slugging.

“Making the decision now gives us the opportunity to use the rest of the season to focus on improvements in our hitting program while also starting the process of looking for a replacement,” Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said in a statement. “We wish Rick all the best moving forward.”

Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes (right hand contusion) is considered day-to-day after leaving in the sixth inning of Sunday’s game. Manager Derek Shelton said initial X-rays were negative.

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson (leg soreness) and third baseman Yoan Moncada (right shoulder soreness) were held out Sunday for rest. Moncada has a 14-game hitting streak.

–Field Level Media

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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