Lucas Giolito, who hurled the 19th no-hitter in club history earlier this year, was firing on all cylinders Tuesday, retiring the first 18 men he faced in Chicago’s Game 1 victory over the second-seeded Athletics. The 26-year-old has never looked better—among AL starters, only Cy Young frontrunner Shane Bieber totaled more strikeouts during the regular season—and for that, he has PS4 to thank.
We know Giolito is an avid gamer—he finished runner-up to Blake Snell in the inaugural MLB The Show Players League earlier this year. But Giolito doesn’t just play “The Show” recreationally. He uses it to scout his opponents.
“I play MLB The Show as myself pitching against the team I will be pitching against in real life the next day,” said the White Sox ace, describing his process to Rob Friedman (Twitter handle @PitchingNinja). “Doing my scouting report, taking my notes, applying that scouting report to the video game and then seeing my video-game self being successful the day before I go and pitch in the game.”
Giolito admits his pre-start ritual is “kind of weird” and “definitely nerdy,” but you can’t argue with his results. Many were ready to declare the former first-round pick, once considered among baseball’s top prospects, a bust after posting a league-worst 6.13 ERA two seasons ago. That setback prompted Giolito to alter his mechanics, a tweak that helped him make his first All-Star team in 2019. Since bottoming out in 2018, the 6’6” right-hander has been a man possessed, contributing a 3.43 ERA with an elite 11.75 K/9 over that impressive span.
A win in Wednesday’s matinee would advance the White Sox to the Divisional Round of the American League playoffs, where they would face either Houston or Minnesota. Chicago is seeking its first series victory since the Pale Hose rode Paul Konerko and Mark Buehrle to a World Series triumph in 2005.