With the way he’s pitched over the last two-plus months, it’s easy to forget that John Danks(notes) didn’t earn his first win this season for the Chicago White Sox until he faced the Seattle Mariners in June.
Danks will try to deliver another stellar performance against the Mariners and help his team earn a second straight win Saturday night.
Danks (5-9, 3.88 ERA) became the first White Sox pitcher since Eddie Smith in 1942 to start a season 0-8, but ended that skid with a 3-1 home victory over Seattle on June 6.
“I would be lying to you if I said it hadn’t been tough,” Danks said after that game. “It’s nice to get the first one out of the way but there is a lot of ground to make up.”
Danks has tried to make up ground by going 5-1 with a 2.32 ERA over his last 10 starts and allowing two runs in each of his last two. He would seem to have a good chance to win again, as he’s 5-0 with a 0.96 ERA in his last six matchups with the Mariners (56-74).
Chicago, which trails Detroit by seven games in the AL Central, could use some help from its pitchers with outfielder Carlos Quentin(notes) expected to go on the disabled list with a strained AC joint in his left shoulder. Highly-touted Cuban prospect Dayan Viciedo(notes) will likely be called up to replace Quentin on the roster.
Viciedo is hitting .296 with 20 homers and 78 RBIs at Triple-A Charlotte. He batted .308 with five homers and 13 RBIs in 38 games last season with Chicago.
“Hopefully, (Viciedo) continues to do what he’s doing right now in Triple-A,” manager Ozzie Guillen told the White Sox’s official website. “We know this kid is going to be a big part of this organization for a long time hopefully, and it can be a good start. I think right now we need offense very bad. It’s my job to make the best lineup out there we can.”
The White Sox (64-65) could use the help as they’re batting .239 - 15 points below their season average - and averaging 3.5 runs during a 3-5 stretch. Seattle-area native Brent Lillibridge’s(notes) two-run homer in the fifth inning helped them win 4-2 in Friday’s series opener.
While Danks has continued to shine since he last faced Seattle, the 22-year-old Pineda has mostly struggled after going 6-2 with a 2.30 ERA in his first 11 major league starts. He’s 3-5 with a 5.05 ERA in his last 13 outings and winless in his last three.
He allowed three runs over six innings in Tampa Bay on Sunday but the Mariners’ bullpen quickly squandered a two-run lead in an eventual 8-7 defeat.
The right-hander gave up two runs and five hits over seven innings in the loss to the White Sox in June.
Chicago is seeking its 15th win in 18 games against Seattle overall, and fourth in a row at Safeco Field.