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Red Sox vs. White Sox Match-ups, 8/27

08.27.09 at 2:37 pm ET


Considering he started the season at Double A Portland, it’s doubtful the Red Sox could have expected much more out of Junichi Tazawa than they’ve received. In his first three starts in the majors, the 23-year-old Tazawa has gone at least five innings each time and has allowed just five earned runs in 16 innings as a starter.

Though he began his Boston career by serving up a walkoff homer to Alex Rodriguez in New York, Tazawa’s best performance came Saturday against the Yankees. In the 14-1 Red Sox victory, Tazawa threw six innings of shutout ball to lower his season ERA (again, inflated by the 1.2 inning, 2 earned-run inning appearance on August 7) to 3.57.

While Tazawa has been able to limit the number of runs allowed on his watch, one statistic that should eventually raise is the strikeouts. The right-hander struck out six Tigers on August 11 in a 7-5 Boston win, but has registered just two strikeouts in two starts since then. These numbers are especially surprising when considering the fact that Tazawa had 94 strikeouts through 109.1 innings between Portland and Pawtucket this season.
Of course, given that this is the first Sox vs. Sox series of the season, Tazawa hasn’t faced any Chicago hitters in the bigs.

The Sox can make it four in a row tonight– not just against the White Sox this series, but against starter John Danks.

In three career starts against Boston, Danks has been rocked for 11 earned runs in 16.1 innings, good for a 6.06 ERA. Danks has been hit with the loss in all three games, though he has racked up 13 strikeouts against the BoSox.

Drafted ninth overall by Texas in 2003, the left-handed Danks was traded to the White Sox in December of ’06 in a deal for Brandon McCarthy. Now in the third season since the trade, it’s looking like the White Sox have gotten the best of the deal, as Danks has both stayed healthier than and outperformed McCarthy.

Already with 11 wins on the season, Danks figures to surpass his career-high 12 wins by a decent margin. He has a 3.85 season ERA entering Thursday but has been particularly impressive in his last three starts. Against the Mariners, Athletics, and Orioles, Danks has gone eight, seven and a third, and six and third, respectively, in addition to allowing just four total runs. Those numbers equate to an ERA of 1.66 with two wins.

It wasn’t until Danks’ twelfth start of the season that he first went seven innings, but once he did so, he became a new man. Since June 10 (Danks’ first seven-inning start), the 24-year-old has lasted at least seven innings in eight of his 13 starts.

Lastly, here’s a head-scratcher. Danks has had problems this season with blisters and circulation in his  left index finger, and as a result was told to lay off the tobacco chew. An uncommon reason for a player to quit, but positive nonetheless.

Here’s how Red Sox hitters have done against Danks:

Victor Martinez (11 plate appearances vs. Danks): .182 average / .182 on-base / .727 slugging, 2 HR, 3 RBI, SO

Mike Lowell (8): 1-for-5, RBI, 3 BB, SO

Dustin Pedroia (8): 1-for-7, BB, SO

Kevin Youkilis (8): 3-for-7, BB, SO

J.D. Drew (6): 2-for-6, 3 RBI, 3 SO

Jason Varitek (6): 1-for-6, SO

Casey Kotchman (5): 2-for-4, BB

Rocco Baldelli (3): 0-for-2, BB, SO

Jason Bay (3): 0-for-3, 2 SO

Jacoby Ellsbury (2): 0-for-1, HBP

David Ortiz (2): 1-for-2, HR, 2 RBI

Read More: John Danks, junichi tazawa, White Sox,
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