Danks hopes to roll better 2nd half into 2016
After disappointing start to season, veteran lefty has straightened things out
CLEVELAND -- After a first half that John Danks described as "miserable," the White Sox lefty is doing what he can to salvage his season, in an effort to carry something positive over to 2016.
Danks was hittable in Sunday's 6-3 road loss to Cleveland, but he was able to hold the Indians to three runs and stay in the game for 110 pitches over five innings in an effort to save his bullpen for Monday's doubleheader against Detroit.
"I knew that going in," Danks said. "I knew I needed to go a lot deeper than this. That's part of it. It wasn't for a lack of trying, it just didn't work out today."
The Indians were able to run up the pitch count of the 30-year-old lefty early, working Danks for 52 pitches in the first two frames. Though Danks escaped the first without any damage, he'd already thrown 28 pitches after a nine-pitch at-bat by Francisco Lindor and an eight-pitch showing from Ryan Raburn.
"That's kind of how the day went," Danks said. "They weren't as aggressive early in the at-bat as they had been the last couple days and I wasn't able to force them to start swinging."
After giving the Indians a good look at his arsenal in the first, the trouble ensued in the second. Burning Danks on Sunday was what has burned him for much of the year - the long ball. After a first-pitch single from Yan Gomes, Danks allowed a 1-0 homer to Lonnie Chisenhall - the first homer hit by Chisenhall against a lefty this season.
"The homer has been the big one," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Danks, who has allowed 24 homers this year. "You have to be able to keep it in the yard and, for the most part today, he did that. He gave us an opportunity, he just ran out of innings and pitches."
Danks settled down after a rough start and gave the White Sox three more scoreless innings before handing things over to his bullpen. And, in a sense, settling down after a rough start is exactly what Danks has accomplished this season, posting a 3.72 ERA in 75 second-half innings after putting up a 5.30 ERA before the All-Star Break.
"I still have a sour taste in my mouth from the first half," Danks said. "I think that I've been playing catchup and trying to salvage my first half. It was pretty miserable. I feel like the second half has been a little more consistent. I feel a little better about things. Hopefully I can keep that rolling into next year."