The White Sox entered the evening reeling, and the game offered mixed opportunity and trouble. On the one hand, Joe Saunders is an extremely hittable, left-handed pitcher. On the other hand, the same description has applied to John Danks of late.
The White Sox would acquire their first lead in over 50 innings in the second when Viciedo blooped one into shallow center and then hustled it into a double. Jeff Keppinger – another lefty-specialist in the lineup – would single him home to give them a 1-0 advantage. The lead would quickly evaporate however.
Danks had effectively pitched around a blown call at 1stby C.B. Bucknor to lead off the game, getting 4 strikeouts in his first 2.1IP. Danks’ velocity was still peaking at 88-89mph on his fastball, but his changeup had excellent separation and was generating swings and misses. But since this is the 2013 White Sox, they would promptly start embarrassing themselves as soon as things started going well.
Nick Franklin would single sharply to left, and then advance on an awful passed ball by Flowers. As far as I could tell, it was simply a fastball toward the 5-hole that Flowers tried to backhand, and made no movement to block it whatsoever. Two batters later, Danks would hang an 0-2 pitch to Jesus Sucre – minor league emergency catcher filler who could not hit at AAA – which he hit for an RBI single. Then John Danks would walk Brendan Ryan. This was a historical moment – I would be surprised if Ryan and Sucre reached base in the same inning ever again.
Then in the 3rd inning the wheels completely fell off. Kyle Seager would reach on a bunt single that caught Jeff Keppinger snoozing. Kendrys Morales would then plate him by blasting a double off the center field wall. de Aza misplayed it horribly and it ricocheted past him, but fortunately Morales is so slow he stayed at second. Raul Ibanez would crush a two-run homer after a 13-pitch at bat, and put the White Sox behind 4-1 after 3.
With most teams, that’s a surmountable deficit with 6 innings to go. But this is the 2013 White Sox, the worst offense in the AL. Things looked grim. John Danks would actually cruise after that 3rd inning, but it increasingly looked as though the damage had been done as through 6 innings, Joe Saunders – who can’t strike anyone out – had 5Ks.
In the 7th inning, Mark Parent started yelling at Dale Scott – who gave Saunders a pretty generous zone, leaving Dunn and Konerko in particular shaking their heads and flipping bats in frustration – and got ejected from the dugout. It was the smart move on Parent’s part, because it would mean he didn’t have to watch the White Sox play baseball anymore tonight.
Adam Dunn would actually single home Alex Rios in the 9th off of Wilhelmsen, who had reached on a leadoff walk and advanced to second on defensive indifference. Otherwise the Mariners bullpen went unscathed, and the Mariners would win 4-2. If you allow four runs and you’re facing Joe Saunders, that should be enough. Alas -White Sox.
The White Sox have now lost 7 straight, and have homered in none of those games.
Brendan Ryan would walk twice, which is embarrassing, although Dale Scott wasn’t making any friends in the visitors’ dugout tonight. Hawk said it was the worst home plate umpiring of the season for the White Sox.
Alex Rios did just fine, hitting a double and drawing a walk.
On the whole, John Danks didn’t pitch that badly today and it was a step in the right direction.
Gordon Beckham went 0/3 in his return from the DL, although he did have some hard luck on a sharp grounder up the middle that took a defense-friendly hop in his first at bat.