No runs, one costly error for White Sox in 3-0 loss
BY DAN McGRATH For Sun-Times Media June 26, 2013 10:46PM
Chicago White Sox starter John Danks kicks the dirt during the fifth inning of an interleague baseball game against the New York Mets on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: July 30, 2013 8:05AM
Ten months removed from shoulder surgery, John Danks made his seventh start of the season for the White Sox against the New York Mets on Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field. Manager Robin Ventura hopes that medical history is no longer an issue for the 28-year-old left-hander.
“He just needs to pitch,” Ventura said before the game. “No governor, no training wheels. For two starts he was pretty good, and in his last start he wasn’t so good, so everybody’s looking to blame something. He just needs to pitch.”
Danks dutifully followed his manager’s orders, scattering seven singles and striking out seven with no walks over 7⅓ innings. A seasonlong problem for the Sox — inattentive fielding — was his undoing as the Mets scored two unearned runs in a three-run fifth and split the brief series with a 3-0 victory.
“He’s pitching well enough to win, but we aren’t putting anything on the board for him,” Ventura said after Danks fell to 1-5.
Well-traveled veteran Shaun Marcum brought an 0-9 record and a 5.76 ERA to the mound for the Mets, but the Sox could do little against the 31-year-old right-hander, managing four hits in eight innings. Bobby Parnell worked a scoreless ninth as the Sox were shut out for the seventh time in 75 games.
Hitting woes aside, the Sox are further reducing their pitchers’ margin for error by failing to make plays in the field. On Tuesday, Gordon Beckham’s misguided attempt to catch an infield popup that was not his ball handed the Mets a game-tying run in the ninth inning, but the Sox overcame the gaffe by scoring in the bottom of the ninth.
On Wednesday, Alexei Ramirez failed to handle Juan Lagares’ sharp grounder to short in the fifth inning and was charged with his 13th error when the ball skipped over his glove. Josh Satin scored from third and Andrew Brown from second, Brown having landed there after Dayan Vicideo made an ill-advised throw to third in a futile effort to retire Satin after chasing down Brown’s single in left-center field.
“You need to throw to second to keep the double play in order,” Ventura said. “It’s decision-making.”
Lagares took second on the throw home and scored the Mets’ third run when Eric Young Jr.’s chopper to third ticked off Brent Morel’s glove as Morel ranged to his left, figuring he had a better shot at retiring the speedy Young than Ramirez.
Morel, the Sox’s third baseman for much of 2011, made his 2013 debut, recalled from Class AAA Charlotte earlier in the day when Conor Gillaspie was placed on the paternity list.
Danks was coming off his worst start of the season, raked for 12 hits and four homers in just five innings at Minnesota on June 20.
“The difference was I was able to throw the ball where I wanted,” Danks said after his 109-pitch outing. “I definitely had more life on the ball. I used my fastball effectively and kept the ball down in the zone.”
If the fifth-place Sox are to reverse course in this wrong-way season, they need Danks to be the pitcher who won 54 games in his first five big-league seasons and averaged 1832/3 innings per year.
Gavin Floyd is gone for at least this year after elbow surgery, and there is no timetable for Jake Peavy’s return from the fractured rib that landed him on the disabled list three weeks ago.
Peavy threw off flat ground in the outfield briefly before Wednesday’s game.
The Sox are 4-9 in their last 13 games, and groping for solutions.
“We haven’t been good across the board,” Danks said. “Each night it’s something different. It’s definitely frustrating because we’re good enough to compete.”