Friday, April 29, 2011
Posted: 11:42 a.m.
The Chicago White Sox find themselves in the midst of an ugly stretch with a punchless offense mostly to blame.
John Danks knows all too well of his team's struggles to score runs.
Despite five solid outings, Danks tries for his first win of the season as the White Sox return home to open a four-game set with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
The White Sox (10-16) batted .199 over their recently completed 3-8 road trip, during which they were outscored 51-23 after falling 12-3 to the New York Yankees in Thursday's series finale.
"It's been a bad couple of weeks," first baseman Paul Konerko said. "It's been bad up to this point as a whole this season, but that doesn't mean tomorrow has to be (the same way). It's way too early to get discouraged or to say, 'OK, this is the team for the season.'"
Alex Rios, who went 0 for 3 before leaving with a toe injury, recorded just two hits in 34 at-bats (.059) during the trek. Slugger Adam Dunn went hitless in four at-bats Thursday and saw his average drop to .162.
Chicago, loser of 12 of 15, has averaged 2.6 runs and failed to record a win during the five games Danks (0-3, 3.27 ERA) has started.
The left-hander, who has gone at least six innings in every start this year, gave up three runs and nine hits during Sunday's 3-0 loss at Detroit.
"It's unfortunate, because he's been pitching great every outing, and we're not helping him," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Not at all, and it is a shame."
Danks hasn't gone winless in April since his 2007 rookie season, and a matchup against Baltimore (10-13) could help extend that feat. He is 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his last four starts against the Orioles, allowing one run or less in three of them.
It's been the Orioles starters, though, who have impressed of late, going at least six innings and compiling a 3.23 ERA over the last nine contests.
Baltimore had won back-to-back games against Boston prior to falling 6-2 on Thursday. Brad Bergesen threw six strong innings but the bullpen allowed four runs for the second time in as many nights.
While Orioles relievers have compiled a 10.06 ERA over the last five games, closer Kevin Gregg has thrived of late. He's converted three straight save opportunities while recording four nearly perfect innings, allowing one walk over that span.
"It's the end of April, (and I'm) just getting in the swing of things," Gregg told the Orioles' official website.
Jake Arrieta (2-1, 4.94) has lasted six innings and allowed three runs or less in four of his five appearances this year, including Sunday's 6-3, 11-inning loss to the Yankees in which he gave up three runs and five hits and struck out a career-high nine.
The right-hander surrendered four runs and seven hits over four innings of his only career start against the White Sox, an 8-0 loss at U.S. Cellular Field on Aug. 26.
Rios, who homered in that game, has gone deep 16 times against the Orioles over his career - his highest total versus any club. His status for Friday, though, is unknown.
Adam Jones, Baltimore's leader with five home runs, has one hit in 15 at-bats against Danks while Vladimir Guerrero, a career .319 hitter, is 4 for 21 (.190).
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