Danks out to replicate dominance
White Sox (36-38) vs. Cubs (35-36), 1:05 p.m. CT
CHICAGO -- John Danks' command was downright dominant in his last pitching performance against the Cubs. Even Danks will confirm that fact to be true.It was the kind of outing that comes along maybe once or twice a season for a big league pitcher, so Danks could especially appreciate the accomplishment.
His line read like this: Seven innings, one run, five hits. Then, there were the nine strikeouts, the highest total from a White Sox starter against the Cubs since Interleague Play began in 1997. In total, he threw 99 pitches, 71 for strikes, and did not issue any walks. And, of course, there was the most important stat of all, earning a victory against the crosstown rivals."I was able to throw four pitches for strikes," Danks said. "That really helps. It's not often where you feel like you can throw every pitch in any count for a strike, and hopefully we can have that more often than not." The question now is: Can the 24-year-old duplicate that success against the same team just 11 days later? That's the challenge Danks will be given on Sunday, when he'll take the mound for the White Sox yet again against the Cubs. This time, it will be in the series finale of the Crosstown Showdown at U.S. Cellular Field. Danks knows it won't be easy. "They're professional hitters and guys that have been around," Danks said. "If you're having success against them, they're going to make an adjustment to try to figure it out. It's kind of a cat-and-mouse game, where you try to make the right adjustments to counter their adjustments." Danks, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound southpaw, has experienced a season marred by inconsistency, which his record indicates. He is 5-6 with a 4.43 ERA in 14 starts. Over his last three starts, however, he has pitched well, producing three consecutive quality starts. In 21 1/3 innings, Danks has surrendered six earned runs (2.53 ERA), numbers that include his start against the Cubs. "I think that I'm capable of any time out throwing a game like that," Danks said. "At the same time, I've had games where I've had some limits. I'm just going to try to go about it like any other start. I'm really just going to try to throw strikes and make them hit the ball on the ground." Danks said he had not thought much about his last start against the Cubs, and he was fairly certain the Cubs hadn't spent much time pondering his outing, either. He did offer up an opinion as to who might have the upper hand on Sunday, though. "I definitely think the more times a team sees a pitcher, the advantage starts to move a little bit towards the hitter," Danks said. "But at the same time, they say good pitching beats good hitting." Pitching matchup
CWS: LHP John Danks (5-6, 4.43 ERA)
Danks produced his third consecutive quality start, but it wasn't enough in a 5-2 loss against the Dodgers, who showed why they own the best record in baseball. He lasted seven innings, allowing three runs on three hits while striking out five and walking two. Danks was done in by mistakes he made early in the contest, allowing back-to-back doubles in the first inning and a two-run homer in the second. Lifetime against the Cubs, Danks is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA, striking out 14 with no walks in two career starts. He faced the Cubs just two starts ago at Wrigley Field. In that game, Danks picked up a victory, allowing one run on five hits with nine strikeouts and no walks in seven innings of work. CHC: RHP Carlos Zambrano (4-2, 3.48 ERA)
Zambrano will be happy to be finished with Interleague Play. He says pitching in an American League ballpark is "boring" because he doesn't get to hit. In his last outing against the Tigers, he gave up three runs on five hits and two walks over seven innings while striking out four. One of the batters he walked scored on Brandon Inge's two-run homer. Lou Piniella wants to eliminate that. Zambrano faced the White Sox on June 18 at Wrigley, and gave up three runs on six hits over seven. In that game, Alexei Ramirez hit a two-run homer off Big Z, also in the seventh. If Zambrano could skip the seventh, he would be OK. Tidbits
The White Sox entered Saturday's game tied with Kansas City for the most unearned runs allowed in the American League, with 40. The White Sox added to that total with three more unearned runs in their 8-7 victory over the Cubs. ... Jermaine Dye is batting .526 (10-for-19) with four doubles, two home runs and five RBIs in his last five games. He finished Saturday's game 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. ... Scott Podsednik emerged from Saturday's game with a face full of shaving cream, even though it was Gordon Beckham who notched the walk-off single in the ninth inning. How did it happen? "Jermaine [Dye]," Podsednik said. "He slid one in on me. I thought they were going for Beckham, but he landed a cheap shot at the end." Tickets
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Monday: White Sox (Gavin Floyd, 5-5, 4.45) at Indians (Carl Pavano, 6-6, 5.80), 6:05 p.m. CT
Tuesday: White Sox (Clayton Richard, 2-1, 4.33) at Indians (Cliff Lee, 4-6, 2.92), 6:05 p.m. CT
Wednesday: White Sox (Jose Contreras, 2-7, 5.19) at Indians (Jeremy Sowers, 2-5, 5.44), 6:05 p.m. CT
Jesse Temple is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.