John Danks‘ erraticism coupled with an offense as cold as the temperature in Chicago made for an unhappy home opener Friday as the White Sox fell 7-1 to the Indians.
1. Danks kept the ball around the plate for most of his five innings of work, finishing with six strikeouts and just one walk. But unfortunately, he also left the ball up throughout and was pounded for eight hits and five earned runs. It was the kind of Danks performance you’ve come to expect, as he needs basically everything to break right for him to be effective, and it didn’t turn out that way. The first and second innings dug the White Sox into a hole their moribund offense was unable to get out of.
2. The two unearned runs came on a strange play in the first inning when, with the bases loaded, Carlos Santana tapped the ball in front of home plate. Alex Avila fielded the ball and, after looking back and realizing he had no shot at retiring the runner at the plate, rifled the ball right in Santana’s running path and past Jose Abreu for an error, allowing two runs to cross the plate. Had he stayed home, Danks likely had enough time to flip him the ball for the force at home, or at worst a non-hesitation gives him an easy out at first base with the plodding Santana running to first.
3. The White Sox seemed in good position to take advantage of a wild Danny Salazar, and were at least somewhat patient early on with four base on balls. But walks only pay off if the guys behind them can make it hurt and, aside from Todd Frazier‘s solo shot in the fourth, the White Sox bats were cold. Things like Avisail Garcia getting picked off of first base WITH A RUNNER IN FRONT OF HIM ON SECOND BASE didn’t exactly help matters, either. The season is young, but Garcia’s major league career continues to get old really, really fast.
4. Frazier’s second home run came on an 0-2 pitch when Salazar grooved his third straight mid-90s fastball in the zone and Frazier took advantage of it. Both of Frazier’s homers this season have come on 0-2 counts.
5. Lt. Dan Jennings made his season debut in what appears to be his role in this bullpen: mop-up duty. But mop-up, he did, as he went three innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three. Perhaps more important was the fact that, in what was a mostly lost cause, he gave the good relievers another day of rest.
Up next: Chris Sale Day! The White Sox will play Game 2 of their home-opening series against Cleveland at 1:10 p.m. CT Saturday in Chicago on WGN and WLS radio. Chris Sale vs. Cody Anderson.
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