It’s too bad the White Sox offense can’t get on any type of roll.
Otherwise John Danks might have more to show for a hard-fought six innings than another loss.
And the White Sox might have another series victory or two.
Despite issuing five walks Thursday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field, Danks gave the White Sox exactly what they needed. But it was more about what his teammates couldn’t do against Jered Weaver in a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels than it was about what Danks did.
The offense was dormant again until it was too late and the White Sox watched their chances of taking three of four from the Angels disappear. Melky Cabrera and Todd Frazier homered, but the White Sox stranded a pair of runners in the ninth inning against Los Angeles closer Huston Street. The White Sox have scored three or fewer runs in 10 of their first 16 games.
“We need to score some runs,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I don't think anyone out there early was breaking the radar gun. We needed to do something and Weave kept spinning it in there, taking something off and we couldn't get it going.”
A five-run contest on Tuesday aside, the White Sox have done very little over their last nine games. After a promising spring and 28 runs scored in their first seven games, the White Sox have produced 20 in their last nine.
The club’s .616 OPS ranks just 27th among 30 teams.
Three full-timers -- Jose Abreu (.190), Austin Jackson (.170) and Avisail Garcia (.146) -- are hitting below .200 as is catcher Alex Avila, who singled in two at-bats to raise his average to .185.
The White Sox struggled against Weaver until his final inning, when Cabrera’s solo homer to right got them within a run. But until then Weaver kept them out of sorts with a variety of pitches ranging from 66-to-86 mph. He didn’t allow more than a runner on base in each of the first four innings and retired nine in a row into the seventh until Cabrera homered.
Weaver improved to 11-2 against the White Sox as he limited them to a run, three hits and two walks in seven innings.
“Once you rush, he’s going to get you,” Frazier said.
The White Sox nearly got Street in the ninth after they entered down 3-1. Frazier drove a 1-2 slider out to right center with two outs for his fourth homer to make it a one-run game. Cabrera and Brett Lawrie, who also doubled off Weaver in the second, both walked. Jackson then ripped a first-pitch slider from Street to left, but Craig Gentry caught it two steps from the wall. It was too little too late for a White Sox offense that .275 on-base percentage and has scored three or fewer runs in 10 of 16 games. The White Sox are 4-6 in those contests.
“Pitchers have been doing their jobs and we’ve been up and down a little bit,” Frazier said. “But to say we’ve been scuffling, I think that’s the wrong term. I think we’ve been playing well. We haven’t been getting eight, nine or 10 runs a game, but we’ve been winning. Pitchers do their job and we find a way to get a couple of runs, we’ll take 2-1 wins every day of the week.”
The White Sox would take Danks’ effort Thursday every time without question.
He pitched out of a two-walk first inning as Albert Pujols popped out and Kole Calhoun hit a soft liner to third. He ended the second inning with a double play and got two more twin killings in the fifth and sixth innings.
But Danks kept his team in the game.
His only mistake was with two outs in the fifth when Danks left a 1-1 fastball up to Mike Trout, who crushed it to left center to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.
He allowed two earned runs and five hits.
“I’m pleased to keep us in the game,” Danks said. “But certainly need to be sharper than that, and we will.
“These guys are battling hard. There’s definitely no quit in this team. I feel like we’re in every game, have a chance to win. We fell a little short today, but that’s part of it.”