With his laborious loss against the Mariners on Saturday night, Jeff Samardzija closed out a month to forget. Or burn. Or flush.
A few things come to mind there:
No. 1: Samardzija's ERA (4.87) is now higher than Danks' (4.82) with one month remaining.
No. 2: Danks was entering the tail end of his rookie season, and had yet to discover his best weapon.
No. 3: Speaking of tail ends of rookie seasons, the subject of Carlos Rodon's workload popped up Saturday.
While Samardzija made a run at the world's most joyless homecoming this past month, August was far kinder to Rodon, who lowered his ERA from 5.00 to 4.15 over four quality starts (28 innings, 28 baserunners, 29 strikeouts, 1.61 ERA). He surpassed the 120-inning mark in the process, and with September offering opportunities for skipped starts, the question is whether Rodon needs a breather.
Robin Ventura's initial answer: not necessarily.
"There might be a spot in there where you can skip him and kind of get him into that better line of where you’d like to see him end up," Ventura said. "I’d also like to see him keep going out there and getting the repetition of being out there every five days."
Danks came to mind because the Sox effectively shut him down after August. He made one more frustrating start in the middle of September, and then called it a day. The Sox were on their way to a 90-loss season, Danks was running out of steam, and they had Gavin Floyd in need of starts.
But Rodon isn't showing such signs of wear, and the workload is responsible. He's on pace for about 160, and there's nothing wrong with that number, judging it backward (he threw 123 last year) or forward (200 is a reasonably optimistic target for 2016).
It's possible the Sox could skip Rodon, if only because he's the only starter set to blow past his previous high in innings, and guys like Erik Johnson and Frankie Montas could use a turn or three. But as long as Rodon looks comfortable and everybody else is functional, it seems like it'd be better to use a sixth starter and push everybody back a day to ease them to the finish line. Either that, or use Johnson or Montas to give Samardzija a breather. He might need it more than the rookie.