White Sox

Danks finds his groove at Wrigley

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Danks finds his groove at Wrigley

CHICAGO -- If John Danks was going to get back into rhythm anywhere, Wrigley Field is as good a place as any.

In two career starts at Wrigley, the 27-year-old lefty boasts a stellar 1.38 ERA and microscopic 0.77 WHIP.

Danks continued that dominance Saturday, hurling 6 13 innings of shutout baseball against the Cubs, allowing just three hits en route to a 7-4 White Sox victory.

"This is what I expect every time," White Sox slugger Adam Dunn said of Danks. "He's got really good stuff. He's such a competitor out there, that if things don't go his way, it's hard not to press and I think at times, he does. That's why I think tonight with Dayan Viciedo giving him some early runs, he settled down and pitched like he's capable of pitching."

Danks had a 6.46 ERA heading into Saturday and was walking a career-high 4.2 batters per nine innings. He had been particularly dismal over his past three starts, allowing 13 earned runs on 23 hits over 17 innings. Most worriesome, however, was the seven walks and only two strikeouts over that span.

He walked just one batter Saturday, while striking out four Cub hitters.

"From the first hitter on, he threw strikes," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "As long as he throws strikes, he's pretty good, but that's pretty much true of every pitcher."

Danks agreed with his batterymate.

"It was good," he said. "I was throwing strikes...I just wanted to stay ahead of them and make them hit my pitches. I caught some breaks, but all in all, it went pretty well."

Danks started the game off by retiring the first 13 Cubs hitters in order. He was removed in the seventh after striking out Bryan LaHair for the second time, but was only at 83 pitches on the day.

"He just looked tired," Sox manager Robin Ventura said after the game. "He pitched fine, but he was looking fatigued a little bit and his velocity was going down. With an off day coming up, I just wanted to take him out and get some other guys in."

Danks didn't have any argument on his manager's decision.

"I just work here," he said, laughing. "Robin made the right call. I'm just excited to have a good game and hopefully this will be the run I need to kickstart my season."

As for why he throws better at Wrigley Field, Danks just thinks it comes down to having fun during a big series for the city of Chicago.

"This is an exciting game," he said of pitching in the crosstown series. "There's a lot of energy in the ballpark. This is a game I enjoy throwing in for sure."

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

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AP

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

Coming to you from Washington DC, we speak with Dylan Cease who competed in the MLB Futures Game along with his Birmingham Barons teammate Luis Basabe. 

Cease talks about the White Sox loaded farm system, what players have impressed him the most, where he gets his composure on the mound and more. 

Check out the entire podcast here:

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fernando Tatis, Jr. is one of the brightest future stars in the game. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball, one spot behind Eloy Jimenez.

He’s a five-tool shortstop slashing .289/.359/.509 at Double-A San Antonio with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 85 games. He’s bilingual, charismatic, the kind of guy who could be a face of a franchise.

And two years ago, he was property of the White Sox.

That was until they traded Tatis, who was only 17 at the time, to the Padres for James Shields. Tatis had yet to play a single game in the White Sox farm system, so it was tough to predict his future. However, speaking with Tatis before he competed in the MLB Futures Game on Sunday, the trade was definitely a shock to him.

“I was surprised. It was weird. For a kid that young to get traded, I had never heard of it. When they told me that, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’” Tatis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

No front office is going to bat 1.000, and when it comes to Tatis, this is a trade the White Sox would love to have back.

But first, more perspective.

In June of 2016, six months before the White Sox started their rebuild, they were 29-26, a game and a half out of first place. With Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and a healthy Carlos Rodon anchoring their rotation, they felt that with the addition of Shields, they could compete for the division.

Unfortunately, perception didn’t meet reality. Shields struggled on the mound with the White Sox in 2016 and 2017. His numbers have improved considerably, and he could return the White Sox another prospect if he’s dealt before the trade deadline. However, it’s unlikely they’ll receive a player with the potential that Tatis has right now.

“(The trade) was about getting a good starter so they could get to the playoffs. I understood. I know this game is a business,” Tatis said.

Before the trade occurred, Tatis looked into his future and saw a day when he’d be the White Sox starting shortstop.

“Yeah, that was my goal when (White Sox director of international scouting) Marco Paddy signed me,” Tatis said. “We talked about it when I started and that was the goal.”

His goal now is to make it to the major leagues with the Padres.

“I’m pretty close. I want to keep working. When they decide to call me up, I’ll be ready.”

As for his former team, he’s impressed with the talent the White Sox have assembled.

“They’re building something special. They have really good prospects. I wish the best for them.”

You can’t help but wonder what the rebuild would look like if Tatis was along for the ride. He’s the one who got away.