The sun might be making its last creep under the horizon for John Danks. The 31-year-old left-hander has had more than his share of tough outings since he underwent shoulder surgery in 2012, but with three starts already this season where his stuff looked even more diminished than before, and the Sox giving his rotation turn to a Miguel Gonzalez trial run earlier this week, it’s easier to see the end for the longest-tenured member of the club.
1. It was an odd strike zone on the night, but not odd enough to justify Danks working frequently behind hitters while using maximum effort just to fling the ball in the high-80s with no life. A sharp relay from Austin Jackson and Jimmy Rollins off a booming Adam Jones double to center field saved Danks from more than a single run in the first, but the smoke-and-mirrors act fell apart in the fourth. Chris Davis took Danks deep for a two-run shot on one of the gentlest home run swings ever seen, then Mark Trumbo followed it up with one of the most violent, as all of Danks’ ability to miss bats evaporated and the Sox fell down 5-2.
In true Danks fashion, he managed to nearly take it through the sixth without another run on him, but a leadoff double by J.J. Hardy ended his evening.
2. Danks wound up getting charged with six runs on the night, because a series of unfortunate events befell reliever Jake Petricka — an error on a hard-hit grounder to Brett Lawrie and a tapped infield single in front of home plate — before Manny Machado blasted a grand slam to left-center to cap a five-run inning that put the game out of reach.
3. The stat line for Danks, (5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 2 HR) will not tell the story or accurately reflect what was troubling about his outing Thursday night. The stuff just wasn’t there at all. He was using an incredibly high-effort and off-balanced delivery to pipe in flat 87 mph fastballs with no real sense of location. The marvel here, and what has been the incredible thing about Danks’ past few years, is that he’s worked his way through so many games with so little in his arsenal. But he has lost another 2-3 mph on his fastball even from last year’s version of Danks and asking him to continue like this is just asking too much.
That was the only mark the Sox offense scratched all night, but they showed their fighting spirit in the fifth. A couple of grinding PAs from Jackson and Adam Eaton drove Wilson out of the game early after 25 pitches in the fifth, and Jose Abreu working a full count walk gave the Sox a chance to bring the go-ahead run to the plate in the presence of Frazier while they were still down just 5-2. Frazier whiffed and the rally sputtered, but it does not appear that it would have mattered anyway.
5. Abreu and Avisail Garcia both collected two hits and each drew a walk, a positive note from the two struggling behemoths in the lineup.
Team Record: 16-7
Next game is Friday at 6:07 p.m. CT at Baltimore on CSN
Lead Image Credit: Tommy Gilligan // USA Today Sports Images