Saturday, May 25, 2013

Moving June 1

As many of you know, I recently took at job at the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake. That necessitates a move, as the commute from North Aurora to McHenry County has quickly grown tiresome -- especially as the summer road construction season gets underway.

I'll be spending most of my next week packing up my apartment in advance of a move to Crystal Lake next Saturday, June 1.

I won't have time to blog, so I'm just going to put this little writing project on hiatus for the time being. Once I get moved and settled, I'll have much more time to watch baseball, read about baseball, do research about baseball and write about baseball.

That will hopefully lead to a better blog as we move into the summer months and the pennant races heat up. I'll talk to everybody again in June.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Don Mattingly must know he's getting fired

Many observers would probably nominate the Los Angeles Dodgers as the most disappointing team in baseball to date.

There is no arguing the Dodgers are getting a horrible return on their investment. Their payroll is $217 million. Meanwhile, coming into Wednesday's action they were 5-18 in May and 18-26 overall. Only the New York Mets and the woeful Miami Marlins had worse records among National League teams.

The more I think about it, though, we shouldn't be surprised the Dodgers are struggling. They have a bunch of guys who are former All-Stars, sure, but those same All-Stars were all traded to Los Angeles for a reason. Namely, they were overpaid malcontents that other teams wanted gone.

The Boston Red Sox (27-19) are a better team and probably a happier clubhouse now that Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett are the Dodgers' problems. The Marlins may stink, but at least they don't have to put up with the lazy, half-ass play of Hanley Ramirez anymore.

Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly is in the final year of his contract, and most people believe he'll be taking the fall for the underachievement of this overpaid roster soon.

Mattingly must know it, too, because he let his players have it Wednesday.

"We got to find a team with talent that will fight and compete like a club that doesn't have talent,'' Mattingly told the Orange County Register. "I felt we got more out of our ability [last season]. I don't know about being tougher, but I felt we got more out of our ability.''

Mattingly did not directly criticize Dodgers management, but he did make comments that seem to be an indictment of the way the roster was put together.

"There has to be a mixture of competitiveness,'' Mattingly said. "It's not, "Let's put an All-Star team together and the All-Star team wins.' It's finding that balance of a team that has a little bit of grit and will fight you. And also having the talent to go with it. All grit and no talent isn't going to make you successful. But all talent and no grit isn't going to get you there either.''

Indeed, real baseball is not fantasy baseball. The Dodgers are finding that out the hard way this season. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gordon Beckham: His absence makes us grow fonder

Jim Margalus had a nice update this morning on the status of two injured White Sox players -- Gordon Beckham and John Danks.

I doubt Beckham's surgically-repaired left wrist is back to 100 percent yet. It may not be 100 percent for the rest of the season, as evidenced by the video of him shaking the bee stings out of that thing after fouling a pitch off during his rehab stint with Charlotte Sunday.

But, Beckham is also 5-for-9 since joining the Knights, which suggests he'll be well enough to come back to the Sox sooner rather than later. That's especially true since second base has become a sinkhole for the Sox in Beckham's absence.

Jeff Keppinger and his .197 batting average have gotten the majority of the starts at that position since Beckham got hurt the second week of the season. Tyler Greene has played there as well. Greene has hit a little bit (.283 average), but his defense has been abysmal. For that matter, Keppinger's defense has been poor too. His lack of range at second has cost the Sox on numerous occasions over the last month.

That poor play at that position has Sox fans clamoring for Beckham's return. Hawk Harrelson is overstating it a little bit when he says Beckham is the best defensive second baseman in the American League, but there's not much question Beckham makes a lot more plays than either Keppinger or Greene.

When Beckham was healthy, quite a few people were ripping him because he has never lived up to his potential with the bat. He's hit .230 and .234, respectively, in each of the last two seasons. Some fans wanted him gone.

Well, for the last month, he has been gone, and we all see the results. His replacements haven't provided anything resembling an offensive upgrade, and there's no question the defense at second base has been markedly worse.

It's funny how people are now realizing just how important Beckham is to the team. No, he is not the franchise savior he was made out to be when he was first drafted and called to the big leagues. However, he provides well above-average defense at a middle-of-the-diamond position. He doesn't hit for high average, but he will contribute 20-25 doubles and 10-15 home runs from the bottom part of the batting order.

The Sox can do worse and have done worse at that position in the past (see Jimenez, D'Angelo). If you judge Beckham on what he is instead of what he was touted to be, you'll start to understand he brings legitimate value to a team. That's something we all should have learned by watching Keppinger and Greene bumble around the field like a couple of idiots over the last several weeks.  

Friday, May 17, 2013

Verlander-Darvish duel never materializes

Well, so much for the pitching matchup of the century, huh?

As early as last weekend, I was hearing some national commentators salivate over Thursday's scheduled showdown between Detroit ace Justin Verlander and Texas ace Yu Darvish.

It was understandable to a point. Darvish entered the contest with a 6-1 record and a league-leading 80 strikeouts. Verlander was off to a mediocre 4-3 start, but hey, that 1.93 ERA was nothing to sneeze at, right?

I think people were going a little over the top, though, when they claimed this pitching matchup was the biggest one in Texas since Nolan Ryan beat Roger Clemens 2-1 in 1989. Those two guys are 300-game winners. Both Verlander and Darvish have a ways to go before they can be considered in that class. (Although, I'll admit Verlander might be on his way.)

Much to the surprise of many experts, the Rangers defeated the Tigers 10-4 Thursday night. Neither pitcher was on top of his game, and Verlander was downright awful. He didn't survive the third inning, allowing eight earned runs. Darvish, meanwhile, was shaky early. He allowed four earned runs over his first four innings, but settled down to retire 15 of the final 16 Tiger hitters he faced. He threw a career-high 130 pitches over eight innings to earn his seventh victory of the season.

The third inning of this game lasted a lifetime. The Tigers got three runs in the top half off Darvish, before the Rangers responded with seven runs in the bottom half. During the third inning, Verlander and Darvish combined to throw 74 pitches, giving up 12 baserunners and 10 runs. So much for that pitcher's duel.

Word to the wise: Don't ever think you've got baseball figured out. When you expect an epic pitching battle, you're probably going to end up with a slugfest.

Jeff Keppinger walks!

It only took 141 plate appearances, but White Sox infielder Jeff Keppinger finally drew his first walk of the season Thursday night.

The offending pitcher was Angels right-hander Michael Kohn, who somehow was wild enough to walk Keppinger on four pitches. Not only that, the bases were loaded at the time.

Keppinger's walk in the top of the eighth inning forced in the eventual winning run in a Sox 5-4 victory. Yet another example of how you should expect the unexpected in baseball.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Predict the date of Jeff Keppinger's first walk

Here at the The Baseball Kid, we like to salute horrendous play whenever the opportunity presents itself. Tonight, I'd like to discuss White Sox infielder Jeff Keppinger.

Can you believe this guy hit .325 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays last season?

Keppinger has looked nothing like that player this year. Through 37 games and 132 plate appearances with the Sox, the veteran is batting .177 with a .174 on-base percentage.

You read that right. Keppinger's on-base percentage is even lower than his godawful batting average. How did that happen? Well, Keppinger has yet to draw a single walk this season. He does, however, have two sacrifice flies. Sac flies do not count against your batting average, but they do lower your on-base percentage. Keppinger has no walks or HBPs to lift his OBP, so that explains it.

There is now a Twitter account dedicated to Keppinger's inability to draw a base on balls. You can follow it at @DidKeppWalk.

I'll go ahead and make a prediction here. I've got Keppinger drawing his first walk of the season on May 24. I'll bet one of the Miami Marlins pitchers will be dumb enough to walk him.

Anyone else got a prediction?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Adam Dunn is not in a slump

Based upon the title of this blog, you probably think I've completely lost my mind. White Sox 1B/DH Adam Dunn is batting .137 entering play on May 13. How can I possibly claim he's not in a slump?

Well, just for fun, let's break down Dunn's numbers -- month by month -- since he joined the Sox. For purposes of this exercise, we'll evaluate Dunn's play by using one old-guard statistical measure (batting average) and one new-wave statistical measure (OPS):

April: .160 avg., .567 OPS
May: .204 avg., .743 OPS
June: .136 avg., .498 OPS
July: .145 avg., .546 OPS
August: .155 avg., .441 OPS
Sept./Oct.: .128 avg., .508 OPS

April: .231 avg., .881 OPS
May: .230 avg., .976 OPS
June: .181 avg., .770 OPS
July: .211 avg., 788 OPS
August: .176 avg., .691 OPS
Sept./Oct: .200 avg., .676 OPS

April: .148 avg., .617 OPS
May: .103 avg., .316 OPS

In 13 1/2 months as a member of the Sox, Dunn has a .179 batting average with a .683 OPS. You have to give him one thing -- he's been consistent from month to month in compiling these sorry statistics.

You'll note the bolded figures in April and May of 2012. Dunn's career OPS is .863. Those two months are the only two during his time in a White Sox uniform where he has met or exceeded his career OPS.

Dunn's career batting average is .238. He has yet have a single month where he has equaled or exceeded that figure as a member of the Sox. Forget about hitting career norms over the course of the season. He hasn't done it for even one month.

Where am I going with this? Well, I'm saying that anyone who is hoping for Dunn to bat .238 with a .863 OPS probably has a long wait. He's not that player anymore, and the last 13 1/2 months worth of data shows it. When a player has played below career norms for 13 1/2 consecutive months, that's not a slump. That's evidence that a player is simply washed up.

You could argue Dunn is slumping because his May 2013 numbers are poor even by the low standard he has set with the Sox. But for the most part, the lousy hitter he is today is more than likely what you are going to see until his contract finally expires at the end of the 2014 season.

For the Sox and their fans, you've got 289 more games to watch the awful mess that is Adam Dunn.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Carlos Zambrano signs with Long Island Ducks

Former Cubs pitcher (and notorious lunatic) Carlos Zambrano has signed with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League, according to multiple reports.

Zambrano pitched in the majors last year with the Miami Marlins, going 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA. He was a free agent this past offseason, but drew little or no interest from big-league clubs because, well, he's not that good anymore. 

The Atlantic League is like the Land of Misfit Toys. There are a lot of former MLB players hanging around, hoping to get one more shot at The Show.

Left-handed pitcher Dontrelle Willis and former White Sox catcher Ramon Castro will be among Zambrano's teammates. Other names you might know on the Ducks' roster are Ian Snell, Josh Barfield, and of course, Beltin' Ben Broussard.

Of course, the first player I think of every time the Long Island Ducks are mentioned is Jose Offerman. Who can forget this 2007 on-field assault that resulted in Offerman's arrest?

A couple years after this incident, Offerman was banned for life from the Dominican Winter League for punching an umpire:

OK, so maybe Zambrano isn't so crazy after all. He's a solid citizen in comparison to Jose Offerman. Big Z may have assaulted his catcher and destroyed an innocent Gatorade machine, but at least he hasn't been arrested or banned for life by any league.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Matt Harvey was near perfect against the White Sox

Matt Harvey accomplished something that hasn't been done in a long time Tuesday night against the White Sox.

The New York Mets right-hander is the only player in the modern era (since 1900) to pitch nine innings with at least 12 strikeouts allowing no walks and only one hit with no-decision, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Mets won the game 1-0 in 10 innings. If you watched this contest, you know the Sox are damn lucky they didn't fall victim to a perfect game. The South Siders managed only one hit over the 10 innings, an infield single by Alex Rios in the seventh inning.

How dominant was Harvey? He retired 27 of the 28 batters he faced. He began the outing by retiring 20 in a row, throwing first-pitch strike to 16 of them. He did not have a 2-0 count on any batter until the seventh inning.

When Harvey gets ahead in the count, he usually wins the battle. Hitters have a .088 batting average (9-for-102) against Harvey this season when he throws first-pitch strike. Rios did come up with his scratch single after an 0-1 count, but you get the point. The Sox didn't have much chance at all against this guy.

I know what you're thinking. You're saying, "The White Sox are a terrible offensive team. Doesn't everybody dominate them?"

The point is not without merit. The Sox have the lowest team batting average in the league (.223). They have the lowest on-base percentage in the league (.276). They have drawn the fewest walks in the league (70). They have scored the fewest runs in the league (104), and the next closest team (Seattle) is a good 14 runs ahead of them.

Forget about Matt Harvey. Right about now, Sox fans are feeling like PJ Harvey could dominate this group of hitters, assuming she has a halfway decent changeup. Heck, maybe even Paul Harvey could shut down the Sox, and he's been dead for over four years.

When you watch the Sox, it's getting harder and harder to judge whether the opposing pitcher is really that good, or if the Sox hitters are just that bad. Fans are tired of "tipping their cap" to every guy who takes the mound, and justifiably so.

However, in this particular case, I'm afraid there is no choice but to give Harvey his props. He was really impressive. You may not see a better game pitched against the Sox all season. I'll predict that this was one of the better games you'll see pitched all year by anyone, against any team. It was that good. You have to give credit where credit is due.

For the Sox, there is no shame in getting shut down by Matt Harvey. The problem with this team is they are also getting shut down by the Vance Worleys and Zach McAllisters of the world. The mediocre guys, those are the pitchers you need to hit. Beat those guys, and it makes "tipping your cap" to the likes of Matt Harvey a lot less painful.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Interleague play -- It's gone stale

Since Interleague play began in 1997, the White Sox have played at least one road series in every National League city except one -- New York.

That changes this week as the Sox head to Queens for a brief two-game set against the New York Mets.

Anyone extra fired up for this series? No? Me neither.

Granted, both these teams are struggling right now. The Sox are 13-17. The Mets are 12-16. But even if both clubs were in first place, I don't think a meeting between these two teams would take on any special significance.

For me, Interleague play is kinda boring. Call me old-fashioned, but I get more excited watching the Sox play against traditional American League rivals like Minnesota and Detroit. Sure, those teams play the Sox 18 times a year. It's hardly unique, but there's a history there that makes the game seem more meaningful than a couple lame May matchups against a team like the Mets.

I don't even get pumped up when the White Sox face the Cubs anymore. In fact, that's my least favorite series of the entire season. Each year, I look forward to it being over -- even though my White Sox have historically enjoyed an edge in the City Series. I see the crosstown series as nothing more than an excuse for casual fans and certain media members to place too much importance on a handful of early-season games.

How many times have you heard someone claim there is a "World Series atmosphere" at one of the crosstown games? What a bunch of hyperbole.

As a baseball fan, you don't know what tension is until your favorite team's closer is on the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning, trying to protect a one-run lead in the potential clinching game of the World Series. With every pitch, a championship is at stake. Something real for a team, its city and its fans is on the line. Memories are being burned into your brain that will last a lifetime, win or lose. That's a World Series atmosphere. You won't find that at a Sox-Cubs game in May or June. Sorry, you just won't.

What you will find is a bunch of drunken fools exchanging insults and fists over innocuous events, like infield singles in the top of the fourth inning with two men out and nobody out in a relatively meaningless June game. That's the atmosphere at the City Series, and it is as old and tiresome as Interleague play itself.

For years, MLB has boasted about Interleague games being better attended than other regular season games. This is true; I can't refute that. But, as a recent article on FanGraphs notes, the bulk of Interleague games have traditionally been played in June -- right after school gets out, when the weather warms up. I would argue that attendance goes up at most MLB parks at that time of year regardless of matchups. The bump in attendance associated with Interleague play could be a mere coincidence.

This year, of course, Interleague series are taking place throughout the season. The Houston Astros have moved to the American League. The two leagues have 15 teams each now. As a result, at least one Interleague series is going on at all times.

The same FanGraphs article notes attendance is down at Interleague games so far this year. Well, of course it is! The weather stinks in April and May. "Intriguing Interleague matchups" aren't going to draw fans to the ballpark. I'll bet you there will be September Interleague games that don't draw flies either.

In June, roughly 20 of the 30 teams in the league can claim to still have postseason hopes. Heck, as bad as the White Sox and Mets have been, I don't think I'd say either team is buried and completely out of the pennant race at this stage of the season. But what if these two likely also-rans played at the end of the year? Would anyone show up because of the allure of Interleague play? I'm going to say no. Anyone prepared to argue that Miami Marlins fans will turn out in droves for a home series against Detroit from Sept. 27-29? Once again, I'm going to say no.

Don't get me wrong. I know Interleague play is here to stay. I just don't buy MLB's argument that it creates extra fan interest and boosts attendance. I think fan interest and attendance are high in June regardless.

Early in the year when the weather is bad, or late in the year when teams drop out of the race, attendance lags. It stands to reason that will be the case for Interleague games, just as it would be for any other game.

Scott Feldman? Who knew?

The best Cubs starting pitcher the last couple times through the rotation has been .... Scott Feldman?

Yes, Scott Feldman.

I can't even find a photo of Feldman in a Cubs uniform, so you'll have to settle for this picture of him from his time in Texas. The right-hander had a strong outing against his former mates Monday, firing seven shutout innings in the Cubs' 9-2 victory over the Rangers.

In his previous start, Feldman struck out 12 and tossed his first career complete game in picking up a win against the San Diego Padres. With Monday's win, Feldman evened his record at 3-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.70.

This hot streak has come at a fortunate time for him because Matt Garza will be coming off the DL soon, and that means one of the Cubs starters is headed to the bullpen.

If decisions were made strictly on performance, Edwin Jackson would be the starter destined for a demotion. The right-hander has been the biggest North Side disappointment this side of Carlos Marmol so far this year, compiling an 0-5 record to go along with an unsightly 6.39 ERA.

But we all know these choices aren't made strictly on performance. Jackson is being paid $13 million to be the Cubs' supposed No. 2 starter. He's been a starter his whole career, and he's got three years left on his contract after this one. No way the Cubs pull the rug out from under him this early in the season.

Feldman and Carlos Villaneuva have spent their whole careers alternating between starting and relieving. It's inevitable one of the two will draw the short straw when Garza comes off the DL. Feldman has been on top of his game lately, while Villaneuva has given up four runs in each of his last two starts.

Villaneuva has pitched better than Jackson, but the realities of the situation make it likely he'll be the odd man out. Perhaps manager Dale Sveum will use Villaneuva in a short relief role when the Cubs have the lead late in games. Hey, he's a better eighth-inning option than Marmol, right?

Reed bounces back for White Sox

I liked what I saw from White Sox closer Addison Reed in the South Siders' 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals Monday.

In case you missed it Sunday, Reed was absolutely awful in blowing his first save of the season. He walked the No. 8 and No. 9 batters in the Kansas City lineup, then hung a 3-2 slider to Billy Butler, which the Royals' designated hitter deposited in the right-center field gap for a game-tying two-run double. The Sox went on to lose 6-5 in 10 innings.

Reed was right back on the hill Monday, summoned to protect a one-run lead in the bottom of the 11th inning. He had to face the best three hitters in the Kansas City lineup: Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar and the aforementioned Butler. He retired them all to earn his 11th save in 12 tries this year. Reed displayed the kind of short-term memory every closer needs -- forget about yesterday, pound the strike zone, don't beat yourself. It was an impressive inning by a 24-year-old reliever who is still learning how to pitch at the big-league level.

I can make a case that Reed is the Sox team MVP this year. The club has only 13 wins in its first 30 games. Reed has one win and 11 saves, so he's played a critical role in 12 of those 13 victories.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras: Back from the Dead

Back when Jose Contreras was the ace for the 2005 World Series champion White Sox, I assumed he was about 50 years old. He was a terrific pitcher at that time; he just looked like he was old enough to be my grandfather.

Freddy Garcia was a starting pitcher on that team, too. The following year, in 2006, he looked like he was pitching injured. Sure enough, by midseason 2007 he was on the shelf with shoulder problems. I figured his career might be over then.

Well, I was wrong about that. Can you believe both these two men are back in the major leagues? Both were recalled within 48 hours of each other this week.

Garcia made an immediate contribution to his latest team, the Baltimore Orioles. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Saturday against the struggling Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before running out of gas. As a matter of fact, Garcia faced the minimum 18 batters through the first six innings. He ended up allowing two runs in 6.2 innings and received a no-decision in Baltimore's 5-4, 10-inning win.

Contreras, meanwhile, has made it back from Tommy John surgery, a procedure he had done last June 20. He'll be a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates' bullpen after being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday. Contreras is listed as being 41 years old. Believe that at your own peril. He might have been older than that during his White Sox heyday.

I'm really surprised these two guys have hung around for this long. It just goes to show that guys who know how to pitch can enjoy long, long professional careers.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Random thought: Will the Braves trade Brian McCann?

Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann has missed the first month of the season while rehabbing a torn labrum in his right shoulder. But, the six-time All-Star is expected to return to the Atlanta lineup within the next week.

I noted McCann went 2-for-4 with a home run and a single for Class AAA Gwinnett Friday night. In six rehab games between Gwinnett and Class A Rome, McCann is batting .364 with four home runs, nine RBIs and five runs scored. Sounds to me like he's ready.

But here's the problem for the Braves: Rookie catcher Evan Gattis has played well in McCann's absence, belting seven home runs and winning National League Rookie of the Month honors in April.

McCann isn't coming back to the majors to sit on the bench, so what will the Braves do with Gattis? From everything I've read, they intend to use him as a bench bat, maybe giving him some starts in the outfield or at first base. Makes sense. You don't want to demote a guy who has been a productive player for you.

But here's my question: Has Gattis done enough to make the Braves believe he is their catcher of the future? And, if so, will they trade McCann, who is in the last year of a seven-year contract that will pay him $12 million this season?

Or, do they look at Gattis as nothing more than a former 23rd-round draft pick on a career hot streak? Will they look to resign McCann, who is hardly old? He's 29, but he is coming off his worst season in 2012 and a fairly significant injury.

If I were the Braves, I don't think I'd give McCann the $12 to $15 million per year he'll likely command in free agency. That's too much money in my mind for a catcher. That said, if I were the Braves, I would not trade McCann. I'd hang on to him, play for this year and hope he's healthy enough to be a critical piece in a drive toward an NL East championship. If he walks at the end of the year, so be it.

But what if they do decide to deal McCann? Which teams need a catcher?

Well, start with the Yankees, who have half their team on the disabled list and have Francisco Cervelli getting the majority of the starts behind the plate. Anytime a left-hander power hitter becomes available, you have to believe New York will be in the hunt.

Maybe Detroit? Doesn't it seem like Alex Avila always breaks down by the end of the year? Never underestimate Tigers owner Mike Ilitch. The octogenarian wants a World Series title before he dies and will spend any amount of money to get it.

I think Washington could use an upgrade behind the plate, but of course, there won't be any trades between the Nationals and the Braves. Those two teams will fight for the NL East lead all year.

Then, of course, there's the White Sox. I still don't understand why the Sox believe in Tyler Flowers. Through 28 games, Flowers is exactly who I thought he would be. He's hitting .186 with four home runs and 26 strikeouts in 70 ABs. About once a week, he hits a home run, and that's his sole contribution to the offense.

Can you tell I'm tired of the Flowers experiment? First week of May and I'm already looking around to see if there are any real catchers who might be available in a trade. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

John Danks pitches well in first rehab start

The White Sox haven't had much good news on the injury front lately.

Pitcher Jake Peavy was unable to make his scheduled start Thursday night against Texas due to back spasms.

Hector Santiago filled in admirably, pitching the Sox to a 3-1 win over the Rangers, and the injury to Peavy is not believed to be serious. Nevertheless, it's never a positive when your most consistent pitcher has to miss a start.

Also Thursday, Gavin Floyd confirmed reports he has a muscle tear in his pitching elbow. The right-hander is considering his treatment options, one of which is season-ending surgery.

With members of the starting rotation dropping like flies, the Sox can only hope John Danks will return to the active roster soon. The left-hander, who started on Opening Day 2012, hasn't pitched a game for the Sox in nearly a full calendar year.

Danks was limited to just nine starts last season and had surgery on his left shoulder Aug. 6. But he was back on the mound Thursday in a rehab start with Class AA Birmingham. He tossed seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He struck out only one, but walked just one. Fifty-five of his 86 pitches were strikes. His fastball was clocked at 87 mph in the first inning and peaked at 91 mph later in the game, the Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzalez reports.

Assuming Danks feels good tomorrow, he'll likely start again next Tuesday for Class AAA Charlotte. I would think the Sox will try to get Danks four starts in the minors before activating him from the disabled list. Just my speculation.

Certainly whenever he's ready, there will be a spot open for him in the big-league rotation.