MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Giolito frustrated despite deepest outing

Nats' top prospect knows he needs to set down batters after getting ahead

Giolito frustrated despite deepest outing

WASHINGTON -- Don't tell Nationals right-hander Lucas Giolito that he pitched one of his better games as a big leaguer in Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Rockies.

Even though Giolito threw five innings, the most he has pitched in the big leagues thus far, he was quick to point out his shortcomings. Giolito, the No. 1 prospect in the Nationals' system, said he has to get better at getting ahead of hitters and finishing them off with the pitch he wants to throw.

Based on what he went through in the third inning Sunday, he had a tough time locating his pitches. With the count 0-2, Nolan Arenado hit his 35th homer of the season for two runs and David Dahl followed on the next pitch with his fifth home run. As Nationals manager Dusty Baker put it, "[The Rockies] didn't miss his fastball."

Although it was his best outing since his Major League debut against the Mets on June 28, Giolito said he had better starts while he was with Triple-A Syracuse. He was throwing all three of his pitches -- fastball, changeup and curveball -- for strikes in the Minors. That wasn't the case on Sunday.

There were times when Giolito was in the driver's seat, but then it would go from 0-2 to a full count. The next thing he knew, Giolito was at 100 pitches before he left the game after five innings.

"The way I was pitching in Triple-A recently, I wouldn't say this was an improvement," Giolito said. "I have been pitching a lot better. I figured some things out. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to execute on a few pitches today. That lost the game for us.

"The only thing I can do is continue to work and try to get better about living down in the zone, getting ahead of guys and throwing all my pitches for strikes and putting guys away."

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.