1. Covering the developments of John Danks' stuff doesn't feel like the most purposeful beat in the world. He tools around with different things. Some days his changeup flashes dominant, the rest of the time it is merely good and over-relied upon. One time he had his old velocity back. Then it went away again. Through it all, he is kinda bad, but remarkably healthy! This is like blogging about Sisyphus. "He showed really good knee bend and drive today." "Today he just whacked the boulder with the stick to little effect." "Today he just sat and wept." "The boulder is still at the bottom of the hill."
Part of Danks' damning prognosis after shoulder surgery was not just velocity loss, but a high likelihood of injury recurrence. And yet, Danks just made his 77th start since returning to action at the end of May 2013. There's value to having a reliably present below-average starter instead of random minor league chaffe, but man, it's not a very interesting case to argue. I would not take that case pro-bono. You will have to send me cash in the mail to write about this anymore.
2. Just kidding! Danks did some weird things with his cutter Tuesday night in a 5-3 loss to the possibly-doomed Angels. It wasn't his changeup, not at 86-87 mph, but had that sort of sink action to it and sparked a mid-outing recovery where he only had allowed one hit over innings two through six. Unfortunately this came after he plunked Shane Victorino and allowed two bombs over 400-feet in the first inning and pretty much demanded a max Sox offensive effort against Garrett Richards, which he absolutely was not going to ever get.
"He really settled in after a three-run first!" is not much of a merit badge in the 2015 run environment, but it's your fifth starter. Maybe someone other than Jose Abreu should get a hit.
3. Abreu singled twice and doubled for the only Sox RBI that came on a hit, but was also erased off the bases twice by double plays hit into by Melky Cabrera. Abreu's .872 OPS is the highest it has been since May 1, and he's hitting .305/.406/.593 in August.
Abreu's sixth-inning RBI double had me thinking about his essential nature. He scooped a Garrett Richards slider nearly off the ground and banged it over Victorino's head in left-center. It was awesome power, but also the approach of a guy hunting contact and hits more than your traditional home run hitter. Abreu's approach often reminds me of the good days of Starlin Castro with 70 power behind it; he'll expand his zone or inside-out his swing to right field with the knowledge that he can barrel up almost anything if he times it right. With that in mind, home run totals in the 30s seem like a comfortable landing spot for him, and something you're happy with when he's flirting with a .300 average.
4. It was not a good night for Brooks Robinson, which is the label Hawk slapped on Tyler Saladino's defense before the rookie managed to throw two balls that missed an Abreu-sized target at first Tuesday. The first of which was marked as a throwing error that allowed Johnny Giavotella to score in the fourth, the second was more of an impossible attempt to prevent an RBI infield single by Victorino. There's a lot of pressure on this guy's glove to make up for a bat that only has utility infielder heft behind it. We don't need to stake unreasonable expectations upon him. I don't want to say you're all acting insane about Saladino's defense, but maybe we all watched a lot of Conor Gillaspie, near-retirement Kevin Youkilis, and undead Orlando Hudson play third base.
5. The Sox are now 1-13 with runners in scoring position in this series, and are making progress on returning the favor for the Angels going 1-32 in the same situation in last week's three-game set. Alexei Ramirez's RBI groundout was actually great execution to place a ball in play after falling behind in the count, which I am only bringing up to be argumentative about his "approach."
6. Courtesy of Ethan Spalding, a factoid that is neither exclusively about Chris Sale nor how young he is: While the Sox have used seven starting pitchers this season (Chris Sale, Jeff Samardzija, Jose Quintana, John Danks, Carlos Rodon, Hector Noesi, Chris Beck), the one start Sale "missed" at the beginning of the year is the only one the Sox have lost to injury in 2015. The Noesi-Beck-Rodon shuffle was only due to gross incompetence!
The most prominent recent example of rotational health like this I can recall is the 2012 Cincinnati Reds getting 161 starts from Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Broson Arroyo and Mike Leake. That seemingly aberrational health luck powered the Reds to a 123 ERA+ and 97 wins, which, uh, hasn't come to pass so much this year on the South Side despite having a rather similar group of guys: One ace, a solid No. 2, a very talented but mercurial No. 3, a promising but struggling rookie and an inning-eating veteran. The rift is that the Sox mercurial No. 3 is having a legit bad season, Danks is no Bronson Arroyo, and while Rodon is far more talented than Mike Leake, his troubles working with Soto have left him less productive.
7. The White Sox or CSN Chicago released a new promo commercial during Tuesday's night's broadcast that revisited Jordan Danks' 2012 walk-off home run against the A's. In the commercial, an actor portraying a White Sox fan recalls Hawk's famous call after Danks took Pat Neshek out deep to right as "Reddick doesn't move." He says it full out, like that.
"Red-dick duzz-zent mo-vuh"
To refresh the memory of what the actual call was.
The question a civilized society would weigh is whether prison time would ultimately serve any rehabilitative purpose for this individual who has clumsily enunciatied Hawk's guttural cry of triumph. The problem is that I do not care about his rehabilitation. I cannot see him as a person beyond his sins. This is why the families of victims don't sit on juries or issue sentences. May God find mercy for this man, for I have none.
8. Abreu and Ventura both commented on the former's repeated plunkings. There's no interest expressed in nailing any Angels in retaliation, and that certainly did not come to pass on Tuesday anyway. Where there seems to be a split is that Ventura would like Abreu to start wearing protective gear so as to avoid becoming a large, human-shaped welt as he continues to stand in on top of the plate, whereas Abreu is not comfortable wearing the extra gear while he does his thing.
He might need to think about getting comfortable, because he hasn't seemed comfortable playing in a diminished capacity at several points during the season as the aches and pains pile up.
9. Dave Dombrowski is headed to the Red Sox to run their baseball operations while GM Ben Cherington steps down, proving again that dumping an enormous pile of cash on a coffee table and promising to clear out all of the incompetent/semi-competent executives in the way is still an effective negotiating strategy. I never had much/any hope of the White Sox reeling Dombrowski into the fold, so at least this top-5 GM in the game will be operating with an unlimited budget outside the division? Ultimately I'm not happy that the guy who signed Rick Porcello to an $82 million extension isn't making player personnel decisions anymore.
Dombrowski to Boston also means Toronto will still be looking to replace their team president at the end of the year, and could involve Kenny Williams in their search again.
10. Jeff Samardzija starts Wednesday night against Jared Weaver. Two angry dudes with mullets who used to be real good, but now have ERAs in the mid-4.00s. Weaver can't be trusted to beat Mark Buehrle in a fast pitch competition anymore, whereas Samardzija's excuse is more like "Why'd they put walls at the end of the field anyway? Why don't we just play in a big park that keeps going?"