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Danks, Sox Running on Empty

When John Danks labored through 4 innings on 90 pitches in his last outing, I said I wasn't worried. He had seemed fine to me in his previous start against the Rays. It wasn't until the Sox pushed back his start against the Indians that I began to sweat, and even then I thought I might just be to move Danks off of what could have been seen a sure loss in a Cliff Lee match-up. I should have paid closer attention to the warning signs, like his 5 walk start on August 16th, because now it's clear, even to this slow learner, both in the results after the ball leaves Danks' hand and in the White Sox treatment of him, that Danks has hit the proverbial wall.

John Danks Career Stats

2008 10-8 28 28 0 0 0 0 164.2 160 65 63 13 50 134 3.44 1.28
2007 6-13 26 26 0 0 0 0 139 160 92 85 28 54 109 5.50 1.54
2006 (AA/AAA) ? 27 26 0 0 0 0 140 141 81 66 22 56 154 4.24 1.41
2005 (A+/AA) 7-13 28 27 0 0 0 0 156 167 84 76 17 50 138 4.38 1.39

Tuesday marked the first time in John Danks' professional career that he started for 28th time in a season. He matched his career high in innings pitched two starts ago with his last effective outing against Tampa. He started just one game last season in September, a 2.2 inning outing also against Cleveland, and never had to pitch deep into September in the minors. (The minor league playoffs are over by mid-September.) Given his 5-walk performance on the 16th and his inability to put hitters away in his last two abbreviated outings, it's time to throw our expectations for Danks out the window. For the rest of the season, he's no better bet to give the Sox a quality start than is Clayton Richard.

And like that, the Sox have seemingly lost most effective starter. He could make a surprise appearance down the stretch, but I know I'm not counting on it.

Meanwhile, as a team the Sox have hit .195/.257/.305 and averaged just 2 runs scored a game since my dubious "almost look like a playoff team" statement. Not coincidently, they've gone just 1-5 since then, giving back 2 games to the Twins, who themselves are struggling on a long road trip. With a rotation that now features 5 rolls of the dice--you don't know what you're going to get on any given night--the offense will have to be the driving force of the White Sox stretch drive. Unfortunately, they appear to have chosen the wrong time to find themselves in a team-wide slump.

Does it feel like 2003 to anyone else?

* * * * *

Joe Crede was removed from the game with "back stiffness" and is listed as day-to-day. Juan Uribe replaced him, and had a big 2-out double in the 6th. Crede's walk in the 5th might be the last time we see Crede as a starter in a White Sox uniform. The Sox will not offer the soon-to-be free-agent a contract this off-season, and thanks to the solid play of Uribe, both at the plate and in the field, I can't see Ozzie returning to Crede, who has reached base just 5 times since his return to the lineup over a week ago.

We'll always have 2005, JOE CREDE!