Most of the emails I’ve received about the White Sox have not had to do with the team’s terrific first month or its mostly excellent pitching. They have had to do with fifth starter John Danks, who has been neither terrific nor excellent.
If anyone understands the tendency to see the one cloud in a brilliantly blue sky, it would be your overcast columnist, but even I find the obsession with Danks to be a bit much. He is indeed the Sox’ buzz kill, but the buzz seems to be drowning out the beautiful music that the team is making. The Sox have the best record in the American League.
I couldn’t tell you if other fans bases would be reacting the same to a Danks in their henhouse or if this is an example of genetically bleak Sox fans seeing the dark side of life. It is human nature to find fault. With Danks, you don’t have to mount much of a search to find it. He’s 0-4 with a 7.25 earned-run average this season.
It’s understandable that fans want more than what he is offering. But it can’t be overstated that he is a fifth starter. When the first four pitchers are Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon and Mat Latos, obsessing on the fifth starter is like straining to hear the background acoustic guitar on a head-banging song.
The Sox gave Danks a five-year, $65 million contract in 2011, and he hasn’t held up his end of the bargain. That happens in sports. But I found Danks to be more of a bummer in past seasons when they really did needed him to be good. Now, he’s just a reason to watch something else on TV every fifth day.
If the Sox keep playing well this season, their fortunes will have nothing to do with Danks. If he continues to falter, the Sox eventually will make a change. I hope.
But forget all that for now. Concentrate on enjoying a really good show. You’ll find life a lot more peaceful.