Padres-White Sox Preview
John Danks realizes he’s had more good starts than bad this season, which is why the Chicago White Sox hurler doesn’t get down on himself when having to battle through an occasional tough outing.
The left-hander pitched spectacularly his last time out, and he’ll look to help guide Chicago to a fourth straight victory when it hosts the San Diego Padres on Friday night.
Danks (3-4, 4.90 ERA) has turned in a quality start in seven of his 10 outings, but he’s also allowed eight runs twice. He knows he’s more like the pitcher who gave up three hits over eight scoreless innings of Chicago’s 4-3, 10-inning loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday.
"I’m feeling really good about where I was. From a personal standpoint, I needed it," Danks said. "I had a couple of rough ones, but if you take a couple of starts out of my year, I’ve had a pretty darn good year.
"I’m not looking at overall numbers. I never have in my career. Just worried about beating the Padres Friday."
The White Sox (28-27) head into this series on a roll after completing a three-game sweep of Cleveland, culminating with Moises Sierra’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 victory Wednesday.
Sierra, claimed off waivers from Toronto on May 3, is part of a lineup that’s had to make do without Jose Abreu, who has been on the disabled list since May 18 with inflammation in his left ankle.
"To win games, you like to talk about different people every night because it takes the whole roster to be able to do it," manager Robin Ventura said. "With the injuries and things that happened to us early, waiver claims are doing that. We went out and you start getting guys and bringing them in, (and) these guys have been a good fit so far."
Abreu was leading the majors with 15 homers and led the AL with 42 RBIs at the time of his injury. Chicago averaged 4.93 runs per game to rank fourth in the majors before Abreu got hurt, but it’s scored 3.73 per game in the 11 he’s missed.
"Nobody is going to cry for us that he’s out of the lineup," hitting coach Todd Steverson told the team’s official website. "We are still here to do a job."
Ian Kennedy has watched as the Padres (24-30) have struggled to score, ranking 98th out of 101 qualified pitchers with a 2.79 run-support average per nine innings.
Kennedy (3-6, 3.59) will take the mound Friday after allowing one run and two hits while striking out six over six innings of Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs.
The right-hander has struck out 72 in 67 2-3 innings this season, in part due to some small changes in his mechanics that have allowed for increased velocity in his fastball.
"I do know that we’ve tried to heighten his leg kick and give him a bigger hip and shoulder turn," manager Bud Black told the team’s official website. "Maybe that’s why you’re seeing higher velocity numbers."
San Diego has been much better offensively of late, scoring 32 runs over its last six. It allowed eight runs in the first inning Wednesday, though, and fell 12-6 to Arizona.
Tommy Medica fell a single short of the cycle with three RBIs, one night after going 3 for 4 with a homer in the Padres’ 4-3 win. He’s 9 for 15 with five extra-base hits during a five-game hitting streak.
"Tommy is definitely running hot right now," Black said. "And he’s hitting the ball hard. Those aren’t cheap ones."
This will be the first meeting between the teams since the White Sox took two of three in San Diego from June 10-12, 2005.