A couple wishes fulfilled for White Sox at All-Star Game

Vinnie Duber
NBC Sports Chicago

CLEVELAND - Before Tuesday night's All-Star Game, the White Sox first timers were asked what they wanted to do in this one.

Who did Lucas Giolito want to strike out?

"The best of the best," Giolito said. "(Christian) Yelich, (Cody) Bellinger, those types of guys. That'd be cool to go out and strike out a guy that could go on and win MVP this year."

Who did James McCann want to catch? Besides Giolito, of course.

"The one guy that really sticks out is (Aroldis) Chapman," McCann said. "I've had to face him. I've had to see 102 coming at me. I think it'd be fun to see 102 coming at me as a catcher."

Well, the baseball gods granted those wishes in the Midsummer Classic.

Giolito made his appearance in the fourth inning. He started things with a four-pitch walk to Freddie Freeman but followed it up with a strikeout - of Bellinger. The next two batters each grounded out, giving Giolito a scoreless inning in his first All-Star Game.

Coincidentally, the inning mirrored one of the biggest talking points surrounding Giolito's incredible transformation this season. He got into early trouble, but instead of letting things unravel, he got back in the zone and retired the next three batters he faced.

"Felt good," Giolito said of striking out Bellinger. "He's in the running for MVP, and I was able to put him away right there.

"You have to have that (confidence). 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 every time you're pitching. That's what I take into my games, whether it's a start against whoever during the regular season or an All-Star Game, one inning.

"For me, that's what it's all about."

Of course, this was on the biggest stage Giolito's ever pitched in, so it's no surprise that there were some jitters.

"He did a good job," Jose Abreu said through team interpreter Billy Russo. "After that inning, we were talking in the dugout, and he said that during the first batter he was really anxious and nervous. And I told him, 'Hey, that's normal. But you settled down after, and that was good.' It was a fun moment for him and for me, too."

Then there's McCann, who got his wish to catch the flame-throwing closer from the New York Yankees. The first question: How's your hand?

"It's good," McCann said. "He threw the ball extremely well.

"It's easier to catch than it is to hit. There's no doubt about that."

Catching Chapman, though, might not have even been the highlight of his night. He smoked a line-drive single for a hit in his only trip to the plate. And he also made a diving catch in foul territory, hanging onto a pop up to end an eighth-inning rally by the National League.

"It was fun. I think the smile that came across my face tells it all.

"Being around the best players and stepping on the same field as them, it's a dream come true."

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A couple wishes fulfilled for White Sox at All-Star Game originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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