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Danks tanks, part 2

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Remember this post? I had made this mistake of identifying John Danks as a possible big-game pitcher, and he then proceeded to disappoint me and other Sox fans with a run of sub-par games. That cold streak extended into last night's excruciating 11-8 loss to the Indians. It was excruciating because:

1) Minnesota got killed at home by K.C. (What do the Royals have that the Sox don't? Starter Kyle Davies, who has shut down both the Sox and the Twins in the last week.)

2) Regardless of what was happening in Minnesota, the Sox had to approach this game as a must-win, but Danks, who was ineffective from the first batter, and D.J. Carrasco, who served up a grand slam to Ryan Garko, didn't get the memo. The Sox batters picked away at the big lead, but never could develop a big enough inning to catch up.

3) The Sox offense looked obviously better than it had recently, combining long balls by Paulie, A.J. and JeDye with sound, fundamental small ball--well-placed singles and right-side grounders that moved runners and scored runs. A wasted effort.

The Sox again face a must-win game today, because they can't go on assuming the Piranhas will lose. The difference today is that they were handed 1st place last night, and couldn't collect.

So, what's going on with the Cubs? Well, they split a four-game series at Shea Stadium, which is not a bad outcome. However, they won the third game of that series so effortlessly--a 9-6, extra innings win that actually somehow looked easy--against a Mets team that squandered so many chances, you expected them to win the fourth game and teh series as well. Harden led an all Sub-Cub team against Pedro Martinez in that one. The subs performed well against Pedro, and better after he left, especially Micah Hoffpauir, who had his much-anticipated coming-out party with a 5 for 5, 2 HR performance. Unfortunate, Harden wasn't great and the bullpen eventually let the Mets walk away with a 7-6 win.

Last night, the Cubs looked like a 1st place team with nothing to play for until next week, which is not what anyone wanted to see. They lost 5-1 to the Brewers, which gave the Brewers help in the wild card race. Would you rather see the Mets win the wild card and have the Cubs face them in the first round, or watch the Brewers win it, see the Cubs take on the Dodgers in Round 1, and know a possible I-94 match-up might decide the NLCS?

The Mets, even though they have Santana, Wright and Delgado, seem like an easier Round 1 candidate than the sill-hot Dodgers. The Mets needed a full game of fighting and scratching the other night just to beat the Sub-Cubs. At this point, a Brewers team that makes the postseason after all they have been through would be very a dangerous team. Regardless of everything else, I would like they Cubs to go into October on a winning streak.

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