05/16/09 12:20 AM ET
Offense lacks edge White Sox need
Danks lasts just three-plus frames vs. Jays in opener
By David Singh / Special to MLB.com
Entering the contest, Toronto had scored the most runs in the AL, while Chicago had plated the fewest.
Unfortunately for the White Sox, those numbers played out correctly on Friday, as the Jays' offense propelled Toronto to an 8-3 victory. With the loss, Chicago (15-19) has now dropped nine of its past 12 games. The Sox have also lost seven straight games at Rogers Centre.
"Tomorrow, I'm going to play [Harold] Baines, Joey Cora and Greg Walker," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, referring to his coaching staff. "We might have a better chance."
While the White Sox skipper was clearly joking, the fact remains that there is frustration inside the Chicago clubhouse given the offense's poor production in recent weeks.
Over the past 12 games, White Sox hitters have combined to hit just .230 while averaging a paltry 3.2 runs per game.
"Offensively, we're really, really bad right now," said Guillen. "We've been playing very bad games. Even when we win, it's not good ones.
"We've got to see what we've got to do to get better. I'm talking about the 25 players, the coaches and the manager."
In Friday's contest, Chicago's offense was held to just a Paul Konerko solo home run and a two-run shot by Jermaine Dye. That was pretty much it though, as the club garnered just seven hits off Toronto starter Brett Cecil (2-0) and a pair of relievers.
"Were having a tough time," Dye said. "Hitting is contagious, and right now, we're not hitting. That can be contagious, too. We're just one inning away -- whether it be scoring a few runs or getting a rally going -- from coming out of it."
However, while the offense was stifled on Friday, Chicago's pitching did not help matters much.
Against the Jays' potent lineup, White Sox starter John Danks lasted just three-plus frames, tying for the shortest outing of the season by a Chicago starter innings-wise.
The Jays (24-14) opened the scoring in the bottom of the third, when Aaron Hill smacked the first pitch he saw from Danks into the left-field stands for a two-run home run that gave Toronto a 2-0 lead.
Toronto continued its barrage in a big way during the next frame, scoring six runs to increase its lead to 8-0. Danks could not record an out in the third inning, surrendering an RBI single to Kevin Millar, followed by a Rod Barajas two-run double to the left-field wall that fell just inches short of a home run. After Jose Bautista cashed in Barajas with his own double, Danks (2-3) was removed from the game.
The left-hander was charged with a season-high seven runs on nine hits in the outing. He also watched as his ERA ballooned from 3.41 to 4.82.
"They were able to hit the ball," Danks said flatly. "We were throwing the ball in off the plate, and they were hitting it. We throw them away off the plate, and they were hitting them. It's just it didn't matter what I threw out there, it looked like it got hit."
Particularly disappointing was the fact that Danks' poor outing came on the heels of one of his more dominant starts this season. Against Texas last Saturday, Danks struck out a career-high 10 batters, while yielding just one run across six frames.
Last season, Danks and right-hander Gavin Floyd provided much stability to the White Sox rotation, combining for 29 wins. This year, though, the young starters have struggled with inconsistency, and as a result, they have amassed just four wins between them over the season's first seven weeks.
"I wish I had an answer for it," Danks said. "It's just something we're going to have to work on. We don't go out there thinking about stopping our losing streaks. We go out there thinking about giving us a chance to win games.
"Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do that tonight."
David Singh is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.