The Chicago White Sox decided to give John Danks $65 million dollars despite underwhelming numbers that didn't seem to warrant that type of reward even when he signed the contract five years ago.
Danks has massively underperformed since the ink dried on that deal, and now he's simply fighting to keep his spot in the rotation in its final year.
The White Sox haven't lost since Danks' latest subpar effort and hope to get enough from him Thursday night against the Baltimore Orioles to extend their winning streak to seven.
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Danks is the highest paid player on the team at $15.75 million this season, but he's lost all three of his starts with a 6.23 ERA. He received his lucrative extension in December 2011 after posting a 4.33 ERA that was his worst since his rookie year, and since signing he's had shoulder surgery, made only nine starts in '12 and has gone 25-47 with a 4.87 ERA.
The left-hander has lost each of his last six starts with a 6.21 ERA and opponents' batting average on balls in play of .358. His control issues caught up with him again last Thursday when he issued five walks and threw 100 pitches in six innings of a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Chicago (16-6) moved him from Monday's scheduled start to later in the week because of his struggles, and he's running out of opportunities to remain in the rotation.
"At this point, I'm not worried about how it looks," Danks told MLB's official website. "I'm pleased to keep us in the game. But certainly need to be sharper than that, and I will. There's certainly a ways to go, but it's definitely getting there. Maybe without the walks it's a different ballgame."
One of Danks' best starts over the last season-plus came against the Orioles on July 3, when he allowed five hits in seven innings of a 1-0 home victory. He's given up nine runs in 12 innings over his last two starts in Baltimore, though, and Nolan Reimold is 8 for 19 in his career off Danks.
Chicago starters have a 1.70 ERA over the last nine, a stretch during which the club's only loss came in Danks' last outing. Jose Quintana pitched six effective innings and Dioner Navarro's two-run triple in the seventh put the White Sox ahead for good in Wednesday's 4-0 win over Toronto.
They improved to 10-3 on the road and are 10 games above .500 for the first time since September 2012 while leading the majors in victories.
"We've got a great team here and I think we've got a great shot at doing great things," Navarro said.
Baltimore (12-8) snapped a three-game losing streak with Wednesday's 3-1 win over Tampa Bay, scoring once more than it did throughout its skid despite recording a season-low three hits. Joey Rickard's homer in the fifth accounted for each run.
Tyler Wilson will get the ball for the Orioles to open this four-game set. Wilson (1-0, 2.77) came out of the bullpen in his first three appearance before getting the start Saturday, allowing three runs in five innings of an 8-3 win over Kansas City. He threw 70 pitches in his sixth career start and earned another with Yovani Gallardo on the disabled list.
"Things don't seem to bother him mentally. He's very mentally strong and that bodes well up here," manager Buck Showalter said. "That's what you like about him. That's why winning has followed him around. He likes to compete."
The right-hander made one start against the White Sox in his brief time with the Orioles last season and allowed two runs in six innings of a 3-2 loss May 28.