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John Danks battles back, but Sox' bats fall short against Dodgers

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Early in the season, this game might have been over in the second inning. The old John Danks might have continued to hang sliders, give up more runs and the game would have spiraled even further out of reach for White Sox hitters.

But on this night, after giving up three runs in the first two innings Danks managed to battle back and hold a heavy-hitting Dodgers club to 3 hits in 7 innings. Despite those shaky first couple of innings, during which Danks said he "didn't have command of anything," the Sox were still within striking distance.

But, oh, those White Sox hitters. And, oh, that blasted bullpen.

Just when the Sox were starting to string together a couple of wins, it looks as though the lack of run support on the South Side will be the death of John Danks.
Sure, if we're looking for a bright spot in the White Sox 5-2 loss to the Manny-less Dodgers Tuesday night, it would certainly be Danks' quality start and the solid performance of the White Sox' defense. Together, they kept the team in the game until the eighth inning when Matt Thornton put a pair of runners on base, setting the stage for Octavio Dotel to serve up a 2-RBI single.

Heading into Tuesday night's game, Danks was getting a paltry average of 2.60 supporting runs at home, compared to 7.71 on the road. That average plummeted even further after Tuesday night's game.

So what can the White Sox do to steer the hit parade back to the Cell?  Don't ask Danks.

"That isn't my department," said Danks after the game. "My job is to go out there and keep us in the ball game. We know these guys are capable of scoring runs. And on any given night, they can explode."

But they weren't about to explode as long as Hiroki Kuroda was on the mound, a guy who had given up 9 runs in his previous 11 1/3 innings. If it weren't for Paul Konerko's 458-foot blast to left field in the second inning, Ozzie Guillen may have boiled over much sooner. Instead, he was tossed by home plate umpire Joe West in the top of the eighth -- a move Guillen labeled "The weakest call I've ever had in my career -- not just managing."

After the game, Guillen praised Danks, but was clearly at wit's end about the team's lack of run production.

"I don't know why every time we come down here, seems like everybody comes down here and throws 70 pitches and gets out of here," Guillen said after the game. "I think we're too anxious or we've got the wrong plan or we're worried about striking out."

If we're to continue looking on the bright side here, the Sox held the red-hot Juan Pierre hitless, and Guillen didn't have to make good on his (perhaps half-joking) pre-game promise to shell out $2 million if Pierre reached base on a bunt attempt.

Gordon Beckham was also strong in the field, making a twirling grab and bullet throw to Konerko in the first inning to squash a rally, a diving catch in the eight on an errant Juan Pierre bunt and a run-saving bullseye to catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the ninth off a Rafael Furcal chopper.

Aaron Poreda showed signs of improvement, pitching himself out of a jam in the ninth and sitting down Orlando Hudson on swinging strikes to end the inning.

But the bottom line Tuesday (and throughout the season so far) was the White Sox' total lack of offense in front of a home crowd that began to disperse around that dreaded eighth inning.

In the first 8 2/3 innings, the White Sox hit only four balls that reached the outfield. Then in the ninth Alexei Ramirez hit a bloop single off an exhausted Kuroda and Jermaine Dye knocked him home on a single to right.

Sure, the crowd cheered when Dye took second and third on a pair of fielder's choice steals, but there was a hint of sarcasm there. As if the handful of faithful who remained were saying, "Thanks, White Sox ... for giving us something -- anything -- to cheer."

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This page contains a single entry by Admin published on June 23, 2009 10:16 PM.

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