It's getting steadily harder to imagine how the next contending White Sox team will include meaningful contributions from John Danks or Alejandro De Aza, who both struggled to make it respectable in an ugly 8-2 loss to moribund Houston.
Danks, still not showing much progress since undergoing major shoulder surgery in 2012 nor a pitch he wants to throw consistently other than an outside changeup, was bombed by a green and mediocre Astros offense to the tune of eight runs (seven earned) over 4.2 innings, including two bombs from Matt Dominguez and a home run ball to Chris Carter that's probably a property owner in Arizona at time of publishing. All of these came off Danks trying to bust right-handers inside and just not having the power necessary for the task. It's an issue.
De Aza completely whiffed fielding a Jonathan Villar RBI single in the second to give Danks his one unearned run of the day; Villar would later score when he tried to steal third and Adrian Nieto whipped the throw to the left of Conor Gillaspie and out to De Aza in left. De Aza added to the hysterics of the day by overrunning the carom on a Dexter Fowler double, alongside his typically curlicue routes throughout. He walked twice to drag his OBP up to .255 on the year.
Danks was never expected to do much more than slide into back-half of the rotation, but is looking like a hard presence to tolerate at all. His ERA is 5.64 on the year now, after a slew of results that back up the lack of stuff he's shown throughout the season. He's allowed seven home runs this month in 21.2 innings. De Aza has been thought of as tradebait for a while now, but it's hard to imagine a buyer with his slow start and increasingly reputable reputation for defensive hysterics.
Without Jose Abreu, the offense inexplicably became The Adrien Nieto Show. The rookie backstop went 3-3, including a well-struck RBI double to the left-center gap in the seventh, and looked to set up the Sox for a big inning with and RBI single up the middle in the third. His knock brought home Alexei Ramirez after Astros starter Brad Peacock walked both he and De Aza to lead off the inning. But after an Adam Eaton single loaded the bases, Gordon Beckham reached way outside for a 1-0 slider and tapped into a deflating 1-2-3 double play. Conor Gillaspie got plenty of a deep drive to center, but ended the inning empty-handed.
Saved from his biggest jam, Peacock pitched over four walks in 6.2 innings for his second quality start in six tries. After the Nieto double in the seventh, he was lifted for Josh Fields, who saved him from further damage by striking out Eaton on three pitches.
-- Adam Dunn posted an 0-4, four strikeout day. He's earned one.
--Dunn, Paul Konerko and Dayan Viciedo went 0-12.
--White Sox have lost six of their last eight games.
Team Record: 21-24
Next Game: Tomorrow night at 7:10pm CT in Kansas City on CSN Chicago
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