White Sox offense unable to make up for mid-afternoon nap


Well done, Josh. // Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

In the vicious first half hour of Wednesday afternoon’s series with the Twins, it looked like the story of the day would clearly be John Danks‘ complete inability to get anyone out, at least not with any degree of intention. Flat fastballs, slow fastballs, high changeups, dull cutters, all of it was getting richly and deservedly hammered. After four of the first five Twins hitters had reached in the second inning, the Sox were staring down a 4-0 deficit and were well on their way to another blowout.

Then nothing happened. The lack of things happening became impossible to ignore. And the White Sox–or simply the Danks brothers–only woke up in time to lose another one-run ball game 4-3.

Part of this stretch of nothingness was due to John Danks commendable about-face, where he shifted from punching bag to someone reeling off 16-straight outs and cruising into and through the seventh inning. A larger part of the inactivity was the return to the days of half-innings of the White Sox offensive sliding by listlessly against Twins starters Scott Diamond, who was making his second start since being recalled from Triple-A, and his first start since then that was worth a damn.

No. 9 hitter Leury Garcia would break up Diamond’s perfect game bid with two outs in the third, only to be immediately gunned out trying to steal second. The shutout would be broken a batter later in the top of the fourth when Alejandro De Aza skied his 16th home run of the season to right. Yet Diamond still cruised into the seventh with under 90 pitches, clutching a 4-1 lead, having escaped the sixth scoreless thanks to Josh Phegley erasing himself off second base by running on a groundball hit in front of him.

A loose thread of hope spun loose in the seventh as Diamond’s shine wore off with fatigue. Paul Konerko drew a leadoff walk and lumbered to third when Marcus Semien sprayed an opposite-field double into the right-center gap. Digging in his heels against a lefty, Jordan Danks plated both of them with a groundball past the outstretched glove of Twins second basemen Brian Dozier, bringing the game to 4-3 and knocking out Diamond.

Reliever Casey Fien, a member of the entirely decent Twins bullpen, humorlessly stepped in and put down the nonsense, or at least transferred it back to the White Sox. Josh Phegley took a 2-0 count, then hacked his way to the bench on three pitches before pinch-hitter Conor Gillaspie flied out to end the threat. After a one out Alexei Ramirez single in the eighth, Dayan Viciedo and Konerko looked no better against Jared Burton.

Glen Perkins worked a perfect ninth for the save, though Daniel Webb looked pretty alright working two hitless frames himself in front of him.

Team Record: 60-92

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