9:30 AM CDT, May 31, 2011
Stop John Danks before he starts again.
Sounds like a line from a movie trailer. Call it “John of the Dead’’ because the horror that was Danks’ outing in Toronto --- nine runs in four innings --- was not a one-off, and I’m not talking about yelling at Jose Bautista in a stupid dust-up.
No, I’m talking pitching, and you can’t ignore awful, people. Wise up, Danks is getting worse and has to sit down, or at least go to the bullpen.
Forget the “hard-luck’’ tag of the 0-8 record. That is so four weeks ago. Danks is flat bad right now and heading toward Linebrink.
I’m not suggesting burying Danks. I’m not saying trade him, either. Every team in the league would take Danks right now, but the team that has him right now must take him out of the rotation right now.
I mean, just look:
In six starts in April, Danks had a solid ERA of 3.92 and a WHIP of 1.33, striking out 36 while walking only 11. So, you had your ERA under 4.00 in the American League and a strikeout-to-walks ratio of better than 3-1.
In six starts in May, Danks has turned into David Wells without looking like he swallowed a sixth-grader. His ERA for the month is a staggering 6.89. His WHIP is about 30 percent higher. And his strikeouts-to-walks ratio is a ridiculous 10-14. That’s right: 10 strikeouts to 14 walks, and even if you throw out the four intentional walks, Danks still has as many bases on balls as strikeouts and can’t even average two Ks a start.
What more does anybody need to see? John Danks, meet long relief. It would be a relief for everybody, believe me.
The Sox went to a six-man rotation because they believed they had quality starting depth. They might’ve been right a month ago. Not now. I mean, iut’s so obvious that even a Cubs general manager could see it.
Sox manager Ozzie Guillen says everybody keeps waiting for tonight’s starter Phil Humber to buckle, which is insulting and shortsighted. The kid has earned a spot, no matter how tonight or his next start goes. Danks, meanwhile, has no more Get Out Of Jail free cards.
What’s more, by failing to remove Danks from the rotation, the Sox are compounding the hurt.
First, the good starters, the guys who actually can pitch at the moment, don’t get to pitch as often. And second, the six-man rotation leaves the bullpen shorthanded, a situation made worse with Tony Pena on the 15-day disabled list with elbow tendinitis. So now, Lucas Harrell leaves, while Jeff Marquez and Brian Bruney show up, and the Sox look clueless. Someone has to be a long reliever, which is like being a starter when you’re not good enough to actually start.
Does that sound like Danks right now?
Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!
Sorry, but it’s true. I like the kid. I loved his last couple years. I thought he was the Sox’s best pitcher. But truth is truth. He’s just not good enough right now, and the Sox are hurting themselves by refusing to act on that fact.
I have nothing a against a six-man rotation. I have everything against horrible starting pitching. It’s the most important part of the game, and the Sox are forfeiting games that Danks starts right now.
Look, if the Royals can remove All-Star Joakim Soria from the closer’s role because he can’t do the job right now, then the Sox certainly can handle Danks the same way. It’s not meant to be a punishment. Just common sense.
The Sox have bragged about how they’re “All in’’ this year. I interpreted that to believe the Sox would do anything and everything to win. Right now, I see them doing nothing.
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