Making his second start since having season-ending shoulder surgery last year in August, Chicago White Sox starter John Danks lasted just four innings and picked up his first loss of 2013 as the Chicago Cubs beat the White Sox 9-3 Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Danks allowed three earned runs and walked a batter in his four innings of work, but the long ball is what really hurt the lefty. Giving up two home runs to Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro, Danks was one or two pitches away from possibly putting together a quality outing on Chicago’s north side.
Surprisingly, both homers given up by Danks came off of his changeup, which is usually his best pitch. Although it was only his second outing since major shoulder surgery and it’ll obviously take a few more starts before he’s completely back to his old self, it’s never encouraging when a pitcher gets beat twice on his strongest pitch.
Moving forward, Danks will have to be effective with his changeup if he wants to earn the five-year, $65 million extension given to him a few offseasons ago. With his fastball barely reaching 90 mph since returning from surgery, the left-hander will have to rely even more on his off-speed pitches to record outs.
The White Sox and Cubs will face off again Thursday afternoon as the two teams play game three of the Crosstown Cup. For the Sox, a loss Thursday would blow any chance of the Cup remaining on the south side.