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Danks rocked, makes no excuses

CHICAGO -- First it was the bullpen, now it is the rotation in a humbling three-day span that saw the Chicago White Sox get crushed twice.

As it turned out, Monday’s torrential rains were the highlight. That was bookended by an avalanche Sunday when the Minnesota Twins scored 16 runs and another Tuesday when the Texas Rangers rolled to a 16-0 victory.

Manager Robin Ventura hasn’t even sorted out the bullpen from Sunday’s mess and now he has a suddenly adrift John Danks on his hands.

Danks was lit up for nine runs on eight hits (four of which were home runs) and five walks over 4 2/3 innings. Robinson Chirinos was responsible for two of the four homers.

Danks has now given up seven, four, four and nine earned runs, in that order, over his past four starts. He has a 10.29 ERA in that stretch and no longer looks like the pitcher who has put it all back together two years removed from shoulder surgery.

The left-hander said that to list the issues that have plagued him of late would take too long, but he did emphasize that he has no issues physically.

“I felt great,” Danks said. “It’s a shame to go out there and get your butt kicked on a night that you feel so good. It doesn’t happen every time out when you feel great, and tonight I felt really good about everything in the bullpen and I just got my ass kicked.”

Since the shoulder surgery, Danks has lost a tick on his fastball, so when his pinpoint control isn’t there, especially on his changeup, trouble typically ensues.

“For him, he has to be able to locate, and if he's not locating, he gets more in the middle of the zone,” Ventura said. “His changeup is really good when he's going fastball in and he can spot that changeup lower in the zone and get guys swinging through it.”

Danks is now at the 140-inning mark, a place he hasn’t been since 2011. But he isn’t claiming any type of fatigue.

“It’s not [an issue]; I felt good,” he said. “For the most part, I felt like I was able to make the ball do whatever I wanted, throw it where I wanted to. Obviously, there were a few mistakes that got hit hard. Looking at some of the pitches that were hit, they were actually thrown where I wanted to, or the ball did what I wanted it to. They just hit it. It’s baseball. That’s the way it goes.”

Pitching coach Don Cooper has been struggling with vertigo the past two weeks and has missed almost every game in that span, but Danks wasn’t using that as an excuse either.

“We love Coop, we love having him around, but him and [acting pitching coach Bobby Thigpen] are in on every meeting,” Danks said. “Thiggy is here, he’s kind of second to Coop. He knows what we’ve worked on and has been out there for every bullpen I’ve thrown. He’s been there for every scouting report meeting we’ve had. Yeah, Coop not being here is not the reason why I sucked tonight.”