Mon Jul 15 3:48am ET
Lucas Giolito heads into first start since the All-Star break, against the Kansas City Royals on Monday, feeling he can dominate against any team, not just one of the weakest in the majors.
Giolito has emerged as an ace for the Chicago White Sox this season and was named to the American League All-Star team. He pitched one inning in the annual classic, setting down power hitters Cody Bellinger, Nolan Arenado and Josh Bell after issuing a walk.
Giolito will start the opener of a four-game series in Kansas City on Monday night, when the White Sox will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak after getting swept at the Oakland A's over the weekend.
Giolito, who turned 25 on Sunday, is 11-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 17 starts.
"If you want to compete at this level and stay here for a long time, you have to have the confidence that you're better than everybody else," Giolito told MLB.com. "That's what I take in my start against whoever, in the regular season or an All-Star game. For me, that's what it's all about."
Giolito's last start was arguably his worst this season, as he allowed six runs and issued five walks in four innings in a loss to the Chicago Cubs on July 6.
He has overpowered the Royals in four starts this season, going 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA. He's racked up 34 strikeouts in 25 innings in those outings. Over his career against Kansas City, he is 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA in 10 starts.
Giolito had a 6.13 ERA last season in 32 starts.
"I'm definitely not the guy who came up and set the league on fire. I took a bunch of lumps, especially last year," Giolito said.
"I went into last offseason with a different game plan. I knew I was so much better than what I showed all my time in the big leagues up until this year. ... I was able to turn it around quickly and get back on track to be the pitcher I know I can be."
He'll be opposed by Jakob Junis (4-8, 5.33 ERA), who hopes to turn the corner during the second half of the season. Junis hasn't posted a victory since May 30, although his last outing on July 7 was encouraging. He held Washington to two solo homers in seven innings.
"He was really good, man," Royals manager Ned Yost said to MLB.com after Junis' last start. "I can't figure it out, but it seems every time Jake makes a mistake, they hit it out of the ballpark. ... But he was fantastic overall. Really strong seven innings."
Junis had allowed 10 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings over his previous two starts.
"I have been struggling a little bit lately, so to go out there and go seven innings, two runs, against a hot team, it's good," Junis said after his last start. "This will help going into the break and into the second half. I'll just take the good from this one and keep working hard."
Junis is 2-1 with a 5.34 ERA in five career starts against the White Sox.
The Royals took two of three against Detroit over the weekend.
--Field Level Media