CHICAGO — John Danks considers his masterful eight-inning victory on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field a pivotal moment in his career, the realization of what the 23-year-old always felt he could accomplish in an ultimate pressure situation: win and reach the playoffs, lose and go home.
And he knows just how much that effort will mean when he makes his next must-win start this afternoon, against the Rays in Game 3 of the AL Division Series: nothing at all.
"Tampa Bay doesn't care anything about that game," said Danks, who allowed the Twins just two hits in a one-game playoff for the AL Central title. "They don't care how I did, and what I did in that game won't help me at all in this game. The atmosphere helps, but I still need to go out there and make pitches and get the job done."
The left-hander (12-9, 3.32 ERA) has done that against the Rays this season, going 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA.
Manager Ozzie Guillen has not solidified his rotation for Game 5, if there is one. LHP Mark Buehrle would be fully rested for the possible Wednesday game at Tropicana Field, and Guillen wants as many left-handers to face the Rays as he can deploy.
WOULDA-COULDA: The White Sox took consolation in what they could before a workout at U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday. The consensus was how much one key hit could have changed both a 6-4 Game 1 and a 6-2 Game 2 loss. Chicago left 12 men on base and went 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position on Friday at Tropicana Field.
"Yes, we left a lot of guys on, but we're getting them out there, and we know we're just a hit away," said 1B Paul Konerko, who has one of three Sox RBIs in the series. "Starting Sunday, we could be 24 hours away from being tied 2-2 the way these games go. That's all you can take with you."
LAUNDRY: Sox RF Jermaine Dye is batting .556 (5-for-9) in the series, his teammates .246. DH Jim Thome is 1-for-9. The Rays are batting .338.