Shaun Marcum finally found a team he could beat.
The New York Mets' right-hander entered the game 0-9 with a 5.76 ERA, but after eight shutout innings against the American League's worst offense, he's off the schneid.
You can sum up the White Sox's "attack" with a few sentences. The Sox managed just four hits (one double) and two walks. One runner reached third, and another one reached second. Alexei Ramirez was 1-for-2 in the basestealing department. As a result, the Sox had only four at-bats with runners in scoring position, and they went 0-for-4. The Mets -- particularly shortstop Omar Quintanilla -- played terrific defense, and Marcum and Bobby Parnell retired the last 10 hitters the Sox sent to the the plate.
And that's how Marcum is now 1-9 with a 5.08 ERA.
The lack of offense made it really close to an authentic John Danks start of old. If only he allowed a crooked number in the sixth inning instead of the fifth, it would've been perfect.
He turned in a fine overall line: 7.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. Unfortunately, the hits weren't evenly distributed:
- Fifth inning: 1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
- Otherwise: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
That fifth inning sucked in a few ways. For one, the hits were all singles, and only the last one was hit firmly. A seeing-eye single through the right side, a soft liner to the left-center gap, and an infield single preceded it.
But the defense found three different ways to screw up. First, Dayan Viciedo fielded Andrew Brown's soft liner and made a throw to third that was just late -- problem was, the throw was too high to give Brown the impression that it could be cut off, and so he took second easily.
So that took the force play out of the equation, and sure enough, Danks got Juan Lagares to hit a grounder to Alexei Ramirez's left -- the kind of ball that would be a tailor-made double play ball. Then again, Ramirez couldn't even get one out -- he never got in front of it, nor did he get his glove down on a weird falling-down stab attempt. It trickled into the outfield, and so Lagares took second.
He moved to third on a groundout to second, and then came home on the inning's third screwup. Eric Young Jr. hit a bouncer to the left side. Brent Morel, playing even with the bag, broke to his left, but he could only get the tip of his glove on it. He knocked it down to a spot where nobody could make a play, and the Mets led 3-0. It was originally ruled an error before being quickly revised to a single, but Morel wasn't without fault, because he broke somewhat in on the chopper, cutting off his angle.
Danks what he needed to do personally -- he avoided walking a batter for the second straight start (although he did hit a guy), and he kept the ball in the park, which had been a problem. He's now 1-5 on the season, but at least his ERA is below 5.00 again (4.68).
Also, he saved the bullpen. Nate Jones retired all five batters he faced, which means that they'll go into a doubleheader against Cleveland with mostly everybody rested. But with Chris Sale going eight the day before and off days sandwiching this two-game split, it doesn't reallly mean much.
- Brent Morel came up from Charlotte to start for Conor Gillaspie, who was on paternity leave, and went 1-for-3.
- Gordon Beckham had a better day defensively, and contributed the lone extra-base hit.
- Adam Dunn drew both walks. His OBP is finally over .300 (.303).