John Danks Smokes Best Team in AL

With a name like John Danks, it's only fitting that opposing hitters left the batter's box in a haze Tuesday night. Danks was dealing from the very first pitch.

It's cliche to say a guy had "no-hit stuff" -- especially when there's a considerable amount of luck involved in any no-hitter -- but let's just say Danks was holding the Rays' bats in check. Only Carl Crawford was able to reach base via a hit, once on a 400+ foot bomb in the first inning and later on a 45-foot swinging bunt. Every other Rays batter drew the collar as Danks rolled up 9 strikeouts against just one walk while recording the second-highest pitch count (113) and Game Score (81) of his career. 

Danks has allowed just 4 hits while striking out 15 in his last two starts, and though it's still far to early to draw too many conclusions, is looking more like the pitcher who many here expected to see last year. Not that Danks wasn't good last year, but this author had him stepping forward to become a top-5 pitcher in the AL last year.

Aside from the great pitching, the Sox got a few round-trippers (both of the conventional and What The Heck Was That varieties) to help notch their first victory in nearly a week. Paul Konerko (5) and Andruw Jones (4) each hit a solo shot to provide the conventional power, and Alex Rios turned a shoulda-been double, into a Thank-You triple with a run-scoring throwing error.

You don't see many triples hit at USCF, and almost none to right-center field, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that Rios got some help getting to third (missed cutoff man) before his free trip home (ball into the dugout/camera well).  I'm sure that's the type of play Ozzie had in mind when he talks about a lineup with more speed... not whatever Juan Pierre is doing.

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