CHICAGO – For the second time in as many nights against the New York Mets, what happened behind the White Sox’s starting pitcher stole the spotlight.
That’s not a good thing.
Throwing to the wrong base, twice – both courtesy of left fielder Dayan Viciedo – allowed Mets base runners to advance and another fielding error by shortstop Alexei Ramirez doomed a great start by left-hander John Danks.
It would have been bad enough if those poor choices occurred over the course of a game, but Viciedo and Ramirez’s mistakes all came in the fifth inning and helped the Mets score three runs (one earned). Those were the only runs the Mets needed Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field en route to a 3-0 win.
“You’re upset,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Viciedo throwing to the wrong base. “Again, you need to throw to second base, keep the double play in order. It’s decision-making. You can’t make it for him. It’s just something you keep working on.’’
With 87 games left in the regular season, Ventura can only hope the Sox (32-43) haven’t checked out as they sit in last place in the AL Central, 91/2 games behind first-place Detroit. As the Sox continue to make the same mistakes and fail to learn from past failures, it’s difficult to envision this team turning around its season.
“I wish we knew what we could do differently,” Danks said. “We know we haven’t been good across the board in any three of the facets of the game. Each night it’s something different. We just haven’t been able to put it together. It’s definitely frustrating.”
The Sox’s offense did nothing to support Danks (1-5), who put together one of his best outings of the season after working back from shoulder surgery. Danks’ performance, which included giving up one earned run in 71/3 innings while not walking a Mets batter and striking out seven, is the lone silver lining in a long line of sub-part efforts from the Sox. Danks said he had more behind his fastball, making it more effective than it had been in his previous six starts this season.
“It’s good personally to have a good one, especially coming off the one I had,” Danks said. “It’s a tough game to lose, but it’s just as much my fault as anyone else’s.”
In what has become all too familiar, Sox batters made an average pitcher look Cy-Young-Award worthy. Mets right-hander Shaun Marcum came into the game sporting an ugly 0-9 record but picked up his first win, throwing eight shutout innings of four-hit ball.
“It’s not a lot of fun when [Danks] goes out and pitches his butt off and we can’t score for him,” second baseman Gordon Beckham said. “Marcum was good, too. He’s paid to get people out.”
The Sox need to use today’s off day to refocus ahead of a big four-game series against division rival Cleveland after a quiet, nearly abandoned post-game locker room after Wednesday’s disheartening loss. Summer in Chicago is not shaping up to be a pleasant one on the South Side.
“It just seemed like a listless offense and I don’t know the reason for it, but you can’t have it,” Ventura said. “And [Danks] is pitching well enough to win and we’re not putting anything on the board for him.”
• Meghan Montemurro covers the White Sox and Cubs for Shaw Media. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Sox Insider and Inside the Cubs blogs at NWHerald.com and on Twitter @Sox_Insider and @InsideTheCubs.