MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Giolito struggles with command in 2nd MLB start

Giolito struggles with command in 2nd MLB start

NEW YORK -- The Mets made sure that right-hander Lucas Giolito wasn't invincible this time. A week after pitching four shutout innings vs. New York, Giolito, the No. 1 prospect in baseball, was hit hard during a 9-7 loss to the Mets on Thursday night at Citi Field. He allowed four runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings, walked four batters and struck out four.

Manager Dusty Baker said Giolito didn't have command of any of his pitches and didn't have much when it came to his secondary pitches.

"The Mets were sitting on his fastball and they hit him pretty good tonight," Baker said. "If you don't have command of your fastball, they can hit the ball out of the ballpark just like us."

Giolito was given a 4-1 lead, but he couldn't get the third out in the fourth inning. After Jose Reyes homered, Giolito allowed two doubles and a walk -- he also committed a balk -- before exiting the game in favor of Oliver Perez. Giolito said it didn't help that he had poor command from the start of the game.

In the Minor Leagues, Giolito said he could take a deep breath and let the game slow down whenever he was in trouble on the mound. At Citi Field, Giolito allowed the game to go haywire. His mechanics went south and he took the curveball out of the equation. He simply couldn't throw it for a strike.

"Once I started giving up a lot of hard contact, the game started to speed up. I kind of sped up with the game," Giolito said. "I was like rushing through everything. I left a lot of balls up, not commanding the fastball, [not] commanding the curveball for a strike either, which is kind of key."

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.