Now I know how Jim Durkin felt in 2002

A Durbin storms to victory in Illinois every six years. This one just goes by a different first name.

If there is any silver lining to the horrid offensive night that the White Sox put together against Chad Durbin it's that, prior two his two starts against the Sox, he was very close to losing his job as the Tigers' 5th starter. The dominating performance against a poor offensive team (combined .234/.325/.390 entering the night) -- a team now missing 2 of its top 3 hitters who were replaced by guys with .279/.318/.342 and .227/.285/.395 lines against RHP -- will probably result in a series of articles about how the journeyman pitcher "manned up" against a team with 189 wins the previous two seasons and a longer leash in subsequent outings.

This is good for the Sox because Durbin will continue to be a poor starting pitcher when he's pitching against non-White Sox major league lineups, which will presumably result in a number of losses for Detroit. I can't imagine there are too many other clubs in baseball that can consistently have as much trouble with a well located 87MPH fastball. And by "well located" I mean thigh high, down the middle of the plate.

  • Durbin's previous high total for strikeouts was 7. He struck out 9 on Wednesday.
  • Durbin's previous high for strikeouts in an outing without issuing a walk was 4. He more than doubled that mark. John Danks, making his 4th career start, struck out 6 without issuing a walk.
  • This was just the 3rd time in 60 career starts that Durbin allowed 0 runs through 8 innings. The previous two times came on back to back starts in July of '01. This would be like Darin Erstad returning to his '00 form for a couple weeks.
  • It was the first time in his career he's allowed 3 hits or less in 6 or more innings of work.
Durbin took one look at a lineup that featured a DH who couldn't hit, a left fielder who couldn't field, and a leadoff hitter who hasn't gotten on base at a decent clip in 6 years and saw job security. Just for good measure, Rob Mackowiak pulled up lame on one of the Sox three hits forcing Ozzie to use Andy Gonzalez (making his major league debut) in RF, a position he has not played professionally. This one was a laugher from the time lineup cards were exchanged.
* * * * *

John Danks had a rocky first inning, but overall, pitched better than I was expecting facing a right-handed heavy Tigers team for the second time in 5 days. I think the outing has to be considered a success in that he answered the bell for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th innings, theoretically keeping his team in the game. I say "theoretically," because when you hand a lead to a pitcher like Durbin, or maybe Kason Gabbard, you can kiss your chances good-bye, Buster.

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