Tough year has made White Sox’ John Danks stronger
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org September 24, 2011 11:04PM
Updated: November 11, 2011 1:39PM
Left-hander John Danks will finish the season with an 8-12 record and 4.33 ERA, but his effectiveness since ending an eight-game losing streak in June has been better than his statistics will suggest.
‘‘The thing about managing him or being his teammate, you’re pretty sure of the effort you get every time he’s out there,’’ manager Ozzie Guillen said. ‘‘Good or bad, he fights and gives you all he has. It was tough for him to start the season, but this kid has been consistent all year. He’s been way better than the record shows.’’
Danks worked 71/3 innings in the 6-3 victory against the Kansas City Royals, giving up three runs and six hits, walking only one and striking out eight. He didn’t allow a hit until the fifth.
‘‘It’s definitely good to end on a good note,’’ Danks said. ‘‘This season hasn’t gone the way I planned, but that’s part of the game. I’m happy to end with a good game.
‘‘I said all along in my 0-8 start that I felt I was throwing better, but things happen in baseball. You could have a bad game and get a win and pitch a good game and get a loss. I never felt sorry for myself. If nothing else, I know I can take pretty much anything thrown at me now because some days I was pretty miserable. So now it’s go home and get ready and hope I can have the kind of year next season I thought I’d have this year.’’
September has turned into a boom month for third baseman Brent Morel, who hit his eighth homer of the month Saturday after hitting only two before September, and for Alex Rios, who also homered for the fifth time in the last 17 games. He has 12 for the season.
‘‘I said in June and July, when he hits to the middle and right field, he will be successful,’’ Guillen said of Rios, who went 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBI. ‘‘It’s nice to see.’’
Rios is hitting .310 (26-for-84) in the last 20 games. Morel is hitting .271 (19-for-70) in September with 19 RBI and 15 walks.
‘‘I feel more comfortable at the plate now,’’ Morel said. ‘‘I’m not trying to do anything differently, just be more comfortable at the plate and let things happen.
‘‘I’ve been more selective, and I’m trying to drive the ball more.’’
Paul Konerko ranks in the American League’s top 10 in five offensive categories. His production has tapered off in the last week as he deals with back stiffness, but he already has achieved his fifth career season of at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI, a fifth All-Star selection and 2,000 career hits. He needs four homers to reach 400 in his career.
‘‘What a special year,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘I just talked to him a couple of days ago about how there’s only a few bright spots in this organization right now — and it’s him.
‘‘This guy did it by himself because the people we put behind him didn’t have good years.’’