Rays shut out White Sox as John Danks struggles
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media April 26, 2014 9:47PM
Updated: April 27, 2014 12:05AM
John Danks blamed himself for the White Sox’s 4-0 loss Saturday to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Adam Eaton wanted to take the blame, too.
In truth, neither was truly at fault for what happened. Both could have done more, but it was just one of those nights for the Sox.
Danks (2-1) allowed four runs, seven hits and four walks in 52/3 innings and suffered his first loss of 2014. He threw a career-high 123 pitches and did his best to save the Sox’ bullpen a night after it threw 71/3 innings.
Danks yielded a two-run double to Ryan Hanigan in the second, an RBI single to James Loney in the third and, on his last pitch, a run-scoring triple to Desmond Jennings in the sixth on a night when the game-time temperature was 36 degrees.
‘‘It’s part of it,’’ Danks said of the cool weather. ‘‘Not looking to make an excuse [because] they had to play in it, too. It’s just part of it. It’s certainly not why I wasn’t very good tonight. I felt fine and didn’t really have too many troubles with the weather.’’
The Rays’ pitchers certainly didn’t, even though Saturday was the second-coldest game in franchise history. Cesar Ramos pitched five scoreless innings and Brandon Gomes three more before Juan Carlos Oviedo completed the combined five-hitter.
One night after a walk-off grand slam by Jose Abreu gave them a dramatic 9-6 victory, the Sox were stymied by Ramos, a left-hander making only his third start of the season and a pitcher who is in the Rays’ rotation only because Matt Moore is out for the season after having Tommy John surgery on his left elbow.
Danks even took the blame for some of that.
‘‘I certainly take the blame for the offense tonight,’’ Danks said. ‘‘Ramos pitched well, but it’s hard to get in a groove when you’re standing out in the field for 30 minutes after each inning. This one’s all on my shoulders. It happens, but I’ll be ready to go next time.’’
The Sox’ offense certainly has been ready to go for most of the season. Entering the game, the Sox were hitting .312 with 44 runs scored in their last six games. But despite having some chances against Ramos, they couldn’t score and left seven men
Their best chance came in the fifth. Alejandro De Aza led off with a walk and took second on a single by Gordon Beckham. A sacrifice by Adrian Nieto moved the runners to second and third, where they remained when Eaton grounded back to Ramos. Marcus Semien then walked to load the bases for Abreu, who grounded to third to end the inning.
‘‘I think [Ramos] had a little bit of what John does,’’ Sox manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘He’s effectively in and out of the [strike] zone, and he had us chasing, taking a lot of off. He wasn’t adding anything. He was just going slower than slow. It’s tough to hit when you have conditions like this and a guy has a good changeup. He was moving the ball pretty good.’’
As Eaton found out, the Rays’ pitchers were also pretty good with their gloves. He grounded back to the mound three times, twice with men on third.
‘‘I [stunk] tonight when it comes to that,’’ Eaton said. ‘‘Nothing really bounced my way tonight, and I need to be better in those situations for this team to be successful.
‘‘It definitely lays on my shoulders tonight. In both those situations, I need to get the job done.’’