Another good session for DanksContinue reading.
White Sox’ Danks expanding his cutter
DETROIT — White Sox left-handers John Danks and Jose Quintana both watched Red Sox lefty Jon Lester with special interest during Lester’s duel against Sox lefty Chris Sale Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field, and not just because Lester was mowing down the first 16 batters he faced.
Danks (1-0, 3.32), who faces the Detroit Tigers when the Sox open a four-game series at Comerica Park on Monday night, watched Lester throw his cut fastball over the inside corner to left-handed hitters. Danks would like to perfect doing the same thing, which would add a new wrinkle to his pitching package.
“Lester threw some great ones to [Alejandro] De Aza,’’ Danks said.
The cutter has always been an important part of Danks’ and Quintana’s arsenals, but they worked during spring training on expanding it by throwing cutters away to righties and inside to lefties, or as pitchers put it, to the glove side.
“It’s nice for me because I’ve been primarily glove side against both,’’ Danks said. “I pitch in to righties and away to lefties, which is why my umbers against lefties are so bad. Now I’m throwing that backward cutter and getting some looks [from hitters] like, ‘hey, you’re not supposed to do that.’ ”
Left-handed hitters are batting .214 against Danks this season, compared to .205 for righties. Over the course of his career, lefties are batting .271 with .748 OPS, while right-handed hitters are .254 and .733 against Danks. Danks has better strikeout ratios agaisnt righties, too — and lefties are supposed to have an advantage against lefties.
If a cutter aimed for the outside corner to a lefty runs away, it misses wide for a ball. If it’s targeted inside to a lefty and runs away – look out – it’s over the middle of the plate.
“It’s been great so far but throwing it to a lefty, it’s almost a dangerous pitch because if I don’t throw it where I’m supposed to that ball is going to get hammered,’’ Danks said. “I think that’s going to be my next thing, incorporating that to a lefty.‘’