Danks angst has spread to the month of May. The 6th start of a rough season for the de-facto ace was up there with his worst, as a 7th inning 3-run homer off the bat of Jason Kipnis keyed a 7-5 win for the Indians.
After dancing around command problems and loud outs all night, Danks got what was coming to him. Lefties went 7 for 19 against, and Kipnis alone went 2 for 3 with a homer, triple and a walk. A great deal of Danks' skill set is geared toward counteracting the platoon split, but it was on overdrive tonight.
Adam Dunn's 9th inning home run even removed any argument of poor run support. If Johnny thought the contract questions were annoying before tonight...
John Danks - 7 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 errors - If there's a positive about this performance, it's that his April struggles don't seem that bad now.
Adam Dunn - 2 for 5, HR, 2 RBI, 1 K - Legitimately having a very strong year. What a thing to consider.
Alejandro De Aza - 3 for 5, 1 R, 2 RBI - Batting average dropped to as low as .237 at one point in this game, now boosted back to burly .260/.345/.469 line. His two-out, two-run single in the 5th brought the Sox as close as they got.
Gordon Beckham - 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 K - He thrilled with the line drive single, he dazzled with the cagey bunt for a hit, then he inexplicably sprinted away from 1st base on a flyout, and was doubled off to kill the 8th inning.
Paul Konerko - 0 for 2, 3 BB - 4th inning walk was a 9-pitch battle
Alex Rios - 2 for 5 - Two solid singles and an argument with Chris Perez
Danks didn't look particularly sharp to start the 7th, but given the way the game had gone up to that point, that didn't give Ventura very much to go on. With two on, Danks fell behind Kipnis 3-1, and grooved a high fastball that wound up in the Indians' bullpen. A four run lead is a lot to ask of any offense to make up in three innings. The White Sox offense qualifies to such a standard.
Things Would Be Different If...
Perhaps Ventura removess Danks against Kipnis for a lefty out of the pen in the 7th. Perhaps this lefty is not a completely gassed Will Ohman. Presumbably this lefty retires Kipnis, and the White Sox are within a run for the rest of the game, and Adam Dunn's 9th inning home run doubles as his first walkoff as a member of the team. That'd have been grand.
However, early May is probably not the time for Ventura to abandon all faith in one his frontline starters to retire same-handed hitters while well under 100 pitches on the night.
Usually these last two sections are different, but this was just a disastrous home run. Stranding 10 runners didn't help the Sox either.
Another lousy pitching performance on a 2-5 homestand that was chock full of them. The White Sox are back under .500, and in 3rd place with a trip to Detroit awaiting them.
Thankfully the Tigers have meandered rather than run away with the division, but this slow slide into mediocrity needs to arrested.