Score Some Runs Because John Danks Needs You To – Game Preview & Lineups 4/16

Having already matched their 2015 win total against the Rays, the White Sox will now attempt to surpass it behind a man who has thus far emerged as the starting rotation’s weak link. The Sox team starter ERA is first in the league, nearly half a run better than the second place Kansas City Royals. The Sox are also boasting the best bullpen in terms of ERA, and have one of only two groups of relievers in all of baseball yet to give up a home run – with the other residing on the north side of the city.

John Danks is the only Sox starter not already in possession of a good start. In just one opportunity, this is forgivable. His turn in the rotation may have been shuffled thanks to the combination of a postponement and a scheduled day off, but he came in as the fifth starter, and will remain so in title, and more than likely in performance. He’s never going to be the pitcher he was before his shoulder fell apart on him, but as is frequently stated, he’s not without use.

His first start, which unfortunately for public perception of him came on the home opener, didn’t yield pretty results. He gave up five runs in five innings and the Sox ended up doing very little in run support anyway; in a vacuum they lose that game if Danks does anything but toss a shutout. But on the positive end, he struck out six batters and he only walked one. The ball stayed in the park, and he didn’t issue free passes. He spent much of 2015 on a boom or bust plan, occasionally rolling out starts that a fifth starter has no business producing, putting us in a position now to sit back and hope that he finds that level again sooner rather later.

Erasmo Ramirez has never been particularly good, typically starting but also flexing into the bullpen regularly in his career. He’ll be making his first start of the season today after having made three relief appearances already on the young year. He throws many pitches, mainly relying on a sinker, particularly when working out of the pen. He’s got a four-seamer he hasn’t used a ton this year, but will probably flash much more often, perhaps even using as his go-to pitch in what he hopes will be a long outing today. Right-handed batters tend to hit him better, and the White Sox are basically a right-handed lineup. Perhaps more than one run can be produced in this contest.

After an evening of nearly no run production from either side, the pitching matchup tonight producing similar results to Friday night’s Chris Sale gem is highly improbable. Jimmy Rollins was the offensive hero yesterday, with a pair of hits and manufacturing the game-winning run with heads up baserunning. Melky Cabrera continues to swing a hot bat, adding two hits of his own.

White Sox Lineup:

  1. Adam Eaton – RF
  2. Jimmy Rollins – SS
  3. Jose Abreu – 1B
  4. Todd Frazier – 3B
  5. Melky Cabrera – LF
  6. Brett Lawrie – 2B
  7. Avisail Garcia – DH
  8. Alex Avila – C
  9. Austin Jackson – CF

Rays Lineup:

  1. Brandon Guyer – CF
  2. Steve Pearce – 1B
  3. Evan Longoria – 3B
  4. Corey Dickerson – DH
  5. Desmond Jennings – LF
  6. Steven Souza Jr. – DH
  7. Brad Miller – SS
  8. Tim Beckham – 2B
  9. Curt Casali – C

Lead Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea – USA Today Sports Images

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