|CHW||LH J. Danks||139.0||5.50||86||7.06||3.50||2.02||1.81||.868||1.54||0.76||17.32|
|RAYS||RH E. Jackson||161.0||5.76||78||7.16||4.92||1.45||1.06||.837||1.76||1.27||18.43|
LH John Danks, Chicago-The Sox send the ex-DVD trio member to the mound for the rubber game of the series this weekend. Danks was a member of the Texas Rangers organization originally, having been drafted 9th overall in the 2003 amateur draft. He came over to the White Sox in a trade following the 2006 season along with RHP Nick Masset for RHP Brandon McCarthy, among others. Danks' major league debut with the Pale Hose wasn't quite as successful as he might have wanted it to be. Playing in one of the majors' most homer-friendly ballparks, Danks served up 28 in 26 starts for a HR/9 rate of 1.81. His propensity to give up the long ball was ultimately his undoing, since his strikeout and walk rates were perfectly fine.
Danks was always my favorite of the DVD trio that included him as well as RHPs Thomas Diamond and Edinson Volquez. Maybe I'm just a sucker for southpaws with great stuff, but Danks has always appealed to me among potential Rays trade targets over the last several years. His gopheritis is somewhat of a concern, although he seems to have taken a step in the right direction this year, having surrendered no home runs through his first three starts of the season, including two at U.S. Cellular Field. He was roughed up in one start on April 9th against the Minnesota Twins, but other than that he has been all Chicago could have asked for and more this season. Whether he can surmount the troubles he faced last season in his only appearance against the Rays is another matter. But Danks looks like a good bet to be in the top of Major League starting rotations for a long time coming.
RH Edwin Jackson, RAYS-Jackson's poor outing last time out against the New York Yankees on Tuesday was nothing if not predictable. One run surrendered over 14 innings was not a rate that he could come anywhere close to sustaining, and in fact he will continue to see his ERA rise from the 2.84 mark it is at now. His walk rate has barely improved this year: it is sitting at 4.74 currently, and his strikeout rate is actually down from last year. Package that all together, and Jackson actually has a worse K:BB ratio than he did over a full season last year. As has been explained numerous times by R.J. and myself, he is benefiting from extremely good luck on balls in play. Hitters have just a .202 BABIP off of the Rays' right-hander, and they've mustered just 11 hits over his 19 innings thus far. Further, his home run rate has more than halved despite the fact that he actually has a far worse G:F ratio this year.
It seems like I go through this song and dance every single start with Jackson, but his present course is not sustainable. He will regress, and it will not be pretty. Believe me, I wish I could say that his apparent gains this season are real, but they simply aren't. And it will take more starts like his outing on Tuesday for the trends to correct themselves. It might not occur today, and it might not occur next Saturday against Boston, but the day of reckoning will come for Jackson. I can only hope that the Rays are prepared to hold up their end of the slugfest when it does, in fact, occur.