Danks takes another step in right direction
Thanks to all of the injuries and ineffective performances in the rotation and the bullpen, the first two months of the season have been very un-White Sox like.
Typically one of the top pitching teams in the American League, the Sox are second to last with a 4.48 ERA, and only an un-Sox like potent offense has kept this team at the break-even mark (28-28).
In Friday night's 4-1 interleague loss to the Padres at U.S. Cellular Field, the White Sox' starting rotation continued moving back in the right direction.
For the second straight outing, John Danks pitched well enough to win while allowing 2 runs on 8 hits in 7 innings. Over the last 10 games, Sox starters have a 2.21 ERA and they've held opposing hitters to a .197 average.
Danks pitched 8 scoreless innings in his previous start, but new closer Ronald Belisario couldn't hold a 3-0 lead in the ninth and the Yankees went on to win in 10 innings.
This time around, San Diego starter Ian Kennedy allowed 1 run on 4 hits in 6 innings, and the Padres' bullpen kept the White Sox' bats even more quiet the rest of the way.
"I feel good," said Danks, who has made one big adjustment by moving all the way to the third-base side of the pitching rubber. "I feel comfortable out there. I just got outpitched tonight. That's the way it goes."
With ace Chris Sale back off the disabled list, Danks and Jose Quintana pitching up to their reputations and Hector Noesi and Andre Rienzo pitching better than expected, the Sox' rotation looks to be back in business.
Now, the obvious key is continuing to score runs, and the offense should get a huge boost with Jose Abreu expected to come off the disabled list Monday.
At least the tempo of games is much better with White Sox starters throwing more strikes.
"Definitely, when we can get rolling like that," center fielder Adam Eaton said. "We need to score runs though. We like to be quick on defense and you know come in and sit awhile and hit a little bit."
Kennedy is 4-6 with a 3.42 ERA after beating the Sox in the series opener. Those aren't great numbers, but the right-hander looked a lot like he did in 2011, when he went 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA for the Diamondbacks while finishing fourth in National League Cy Young voting.
Eaton played with Kennedy the past two seasons in Arizona and was 1-for-2 against his ex-teammate.
"That's Ian Kennedy," Eaton said. "He's a good pitcher. He mixes his stuff up. He hits his spots. He's too familiar with me. I'm going to have a bone to pick with him after the game because he just threw in on me the entire time, but he's a good pitcher. He knows how to pitch. He studies the heck out of people and he knows how to approach the game and he competes. Hats off to him for getting us off balance and keeping us off balance."
The White Sox' lone run came in the fourth inning when Conor Gillaspie singled and wound up scoring on Kennedy's wild pitch.