CHICAGO — Twins slugger Josh Donaldson says he gave White Sox ace Lucas Giolito the face-to-face meeting he wanted after Giolito took exception to a sticky allegation from Donaldson during Tuesday’s game.
Donaldson appeared to yell “not sticky anymore” after hitting a first-inning homer during Chicago’s 7-6 victory on Tuesday. The 2015 AL MVP rubbed his hands together after touching home, suggesting that Giolito had benefitted from the use of foreign substances prior to Major League Baseball’s crackdown last week.
The 35-year-old Donaldson has been among baseball’s most outspoken hitters against the use of illicit grip enhancers by pitchers, which can generate more spin — and therefore more movement.
Giolito called Donaldson an “(expletive) pest” Tuesday night and said the home run celebration was a “classless move.” He also said the three-time All-Star should talk to Giolito directly to his face.
Donaldson said they did just that at Guaranteed Rate Field as the teams left the ballpark Tuesday.
“He didn’t have really much to say,” Donaldson said before Wednesday night’s rain-delayed game.
Giolito didn’t speak with media on Wednesday. Donaldson, however, had plenty to say.
“I said, ’So what? I’m on the opposing team,’” Donaldson said of his session with Giolito. “‘What do you care about me?’ I said, ‘I’m in your face. I’m telling you what I think. What have you got to say about that?’ And he didn’t have any response.”
Donaldson said he was calling out to his dugout after the homer, trying to fire up the Twins, who have languished near the bottom of the AL Central.
“I wasn’t pimping my home run,” Donaldson said. “My intention was not to show up Lucas Giolito.”
Donaldson said Giolito’s reaction “speaks more about the looming question that’s going on, which is, was he using sticky stuff before all of this happened in the first place?”
Donaldson said he had been tracking “like 150 guys” on a list of pitchers whose spin rates had been increasing in recent years, giving them livelier pitches.
While he acknowledged Giolito’s talent, Donaldson said the righty was on his list. Following baseball’s crackdown, Donaldson claimed the numbers show it.
“Guess what Mr. Giolito? Your fastball spin rate is down 200,” Donaldson said. “You’re curveball spin rate is down 400 or 500. Your slider is down 200.”
The spin rate on Giolito’s fastball Tuesday averaged 2,239 rotations per minute, down 237 RPM from a start June 16. His curveball dropped 503 RPM and his slider lost 253 RPM in that same span.
Giolito rebounded after giving up Donaldson’s two-run first inning shot and pitched six-plus innings of three-run ball to earn his first win in a month. Donaldson said the righty wasn’t as dominant as in the past.
“I didn’t see any swings and misses on fastballs up yesterday where he normally gets swings and misses up there and he gets check swings up there, where you get that hopping effect from the spin rate,” Donaldson said. “I felt like, overall, he was able to manage and still pitch and do his job. But I felt like offensively, we were right there.”