While he wasn’t on an actual baseball field, starting pitcher Lucas Giolito returned to game action (virtually) on Sunday night. He is one of 30 players trading in their glove for controllers as part of the first-ever online league within MLB The Show featuring solely players. This is all part of a recent initiative by Major League Baseball, the Players Association, and Sony Interactive to give fans some form of baseball during these tough times. Below is a complete look at each team’s representative for what is being dubbed as the “Players League.”
Our guy, Lucas, began league play with four, three-inning games last night, facing Luke Jackson (Braves), Ryne Stanek (Marlins), Jeff McNeil (Mets), and Bo Bichette (Blue Jays). All of the games were streamed via the online platform, Twitch, for fans everywhere to watch. Here’s a summary of how things went down:
Game One vs. Luke Jackson’s Braves
- Top 1st: Giolito pitched as himself but gave up two hits and a walk to load the bases. Luckily, the ace worked some magic to get a pair of strikeouts and flyout to avoid any damage.
- Bottom 1st: Jose Abreu was the lone baserunner on a walk in an otherwise uneventful bottom half.
- Top 2nd: Luke Jackson was unable to capitalize after putting runners on the corners with two outs. Still no score.
- Bottom 2nd: Luis Robert cancelled the postgame show for the only White Sox hit of the game.
- Top Third: Jackson crushed one over the left field bullpen with Freddie Freeman to put the Braves up 1-0.
- Bottom Third: Giolito was retired in order to end it. A rough start to the tourney.
FINAL: Braves 1, White Sox 0
Giolito’s Record: 0-1
Game Two vs. Ryne Stanek’s Marlins
- Top 1st: A two-out single from Pito set it up perfectly for a two-run bomb for Eloy. White Sox up 2-0.
- Bottom 1st: Some sloppy fielding led to a Miami run, but the Sox held on to their 2-1 lead.
- Top 2nd: The bats came alive for the Sox. Nomar Mazara beat the shift for a double, Luis Robert tripled, and Leury singled to put the Sox up big. Moncada then drove in two to cap-off a four-run inning. Sox lead 6-1.
- Bottom 2nd: Easy three outs for Giolito. No score change.
- Top 3rd: Leury Legend doubled and later had a nifty slide at the plate to just beat the throw. Sox up 7-1.
- Bottom 3rd: Stanek singled but Gio finished things off with Kelvin Herrera for his first win of the Players League.
FINAL: White Sox 7, Marlins 1
Giolito’s Record: 1-1
Game Three vs. Jeff McNeil’s Mets
- Top 1st: Giolito gets out of jams, plain and simple. First and third with an out and a clutch double play managed to keep Jeff McNeil off the board.
- Bottom 1st: 1-2-3 inning for the Sox. Nothing to see here.
- Top 2nd: A leadoff double, a ball off the center fielder’s glove, and another double gave the Mets their first two runs. Jeff McNeil finished the inning with a 4-0 lead
- Bottom 2nd: McNeil had some defensive issues of his own, which were to blame for two runs Giolito scored. Mets lead cut in half, 4-2.
- Top 3rd: McNeil was able to bring another run home to expand his lead to three. Mets now up 5-2.
- Bottom 3rd: The two-out rally wasn’t enough as Giolito struggled against Edwin Diaz.
FINAL: Mets 5, White Sox 2
Giolito’s Record: 1-2
Game Four vs. Bo Bichette’s Blue Jays
- Top 1st: Giolito put up a big crooked number in the first as timely hits gave the Sox a 3-0 lead.
- Bottom 1st: The ace used himself in the game to get out of yet another first inning jam. No score change.
- Top 2nd: Gio kept the pressure on with two hits, but Bo Bichette avoided more trouble. Sox still up 3-0.
- Bottom 2nd: Two pitches, two outs before a home run made it a two-run game. Lucas couldn’t believe his change up down and in didn’t work. Sox lead cut to 3-1.
- Top 3rd: A hit in a quiet third left the score unchanged.
- Bottom 3rd: Alex Colome came in and shut things down to get Giolito and the Sox back at .500 overall in the tourney.
FINAL: White Sox 3, Blue Jays 1
Giolito’s Record: 2-2
After the games were over, Gio graciously took the time to answer fan questions and interact with his viewers on Twitch, which is probably the coolest part of this whole thing. The ability for all players to communicate with their respective fan bases and maintain a strong relationship is crucial during this time. I decided to have a little fun with it and ask Lucas about his thoughts on the day one performance.
Now, I personally have never been big into video games, but Major League Baseball and all who are involved in this tournament deserve a lot of credit. I feel like we all are still trying to find new ways to fill time, and this is one of the easiest ways to keep people engaged. Even though it’s a video game, there is still a competitive feel because each player is representing their team, just in a much more different and relaxed environment from what we’re used to seeing.
If you missed last night’s games, you can click here to watch a replay of Giolito’s stream. Make sure you also follow him on Twitter @LGio27 and on Twitch @GeneralGio while you’re at it so you’re notified when he goes live again in the future. It’s definitely an entertaining time and a great way to connect with him and fellow fans, so I highly recommend it.
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Featured Photo: GeneralGio/Twitch