John Danks has another good game for Sox, brother Jordan does not
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org June 15, 2013 10:30PM
Chicago White Sox v Houston Astros
SOX AT ASTROS
The facts: 1:10 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The starters: Hector Santiago (2-4, 3.12 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (3-3, 4.37).
Updated: July 17, 2013 7:24AM
HOUSTON — The way Don Cooper sees it, John Danks’ surgery and the comeback tour he’s making at less than full strength may be the best thing that has happened to the White Sox left-hander.
Danks had it all going for him going into the 2012 season, including a fresh $65 million contract extension and an Opening Day start that validated his role as new staff leader after Mark Buehrle left. When Danks’ shoulder acted up, things began to unravel. He threw his last pitch in late May and went under the knife on Aug. 6.
Danks made his fifth start in the Sox’ 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros on Saturday night, the game coming to a stunning finish when Danks’ brother Jordan was picked off second base by Jose Veras. John’s performance wasn’t as brilliant as his previous outing, in which he retired 21 straight Oakland A’s, but for the fourth time in five he wasn’t bad — especially for a guy who is waiting for his fastball to return to normal. Cooper sees the 28-year-old Texan becoming a better pitcher down the road.
“I have no expectations right now about his velocity,’’ Cooper said before Danks took the mound Saturday. “It is what it is, less than a year past surgery. I almost think this is a blessing in disguise because he’s being forced to learn how to pitch better.’’
Danks agreed after Saturday’s outing.
“Learning how to throw four pitches for strikes in any count will only help me when I get back all the way to where I want to be,’’ he said. “This will be a great learning tool for me.’’
Cooper has seen Danks get better after his first two starts.
“He’s keeping the ball down, making more good pitches, working off his fastball more and using his changeup and curveball more,’’ Cooper said. “I’m seeing all his attributes, his competitiveness and his fight. He’s competing out there. That’s very encouraging.
“If he does what he’s doing right now, he’s going to be fine. He’s going to have a career. And if the velocity comes back, he can be one of the top lefties again. Sometimes things happen for a reason, and I’m not saying surgery is a good thing, but he’s having to learn — being forced to be better at certain things.”
Danks (1-3, 4.50 ERA) gave up bases-empty homers to Jason Castro and Chris Carter in the fourth inning, sandwiched by RBI doubles from Ronny Cedeno in the second inning and Brandon Barnes in the fifth. He struck out five and walked one. When Danks walked Carlos Pena to open the seventh, manager Robin Ventura pulled him after 76 pitches.
Danks didn’t like being taken out, but Ventura liked the matchups better with reliever Matt Lindstrom.
“I’m healthy, I feel good,’’ Danks said. “That’s part of it.’’
Adam Dunn hit his 18th homer, Paul Konerko had an RBI single and Gordon Beckham an RBI double for the Sox, who had a runner on second with no outs in the eighth and ninth innings but couldn’t score. Jordan Danks entered the game as a pinch-runner.
“I didn’t think it was close enough to end the game that way,’’ he said of his argument with umpire Dana DeMuth. “But what are you going to do about it.”
“It sucks losing,’’ John Danks said. “I don’t know how else to put it. Yeah, it sucks. I’m sorry I don’t know what else to say.’’