CHICAGO -- The concerns have become numerous for John Danks and not exactly inquiries with a positive tone.
Through Monday night's tough three-plus innings against the Tigers, the talented left-hander has posted a 6.46 ERA over 47 1/3 innings. It's the highest ERA after eight starts in Danks' six-year career, even higher than a 2011 season featuring an eventual 0-8 start.
"I feel like I'm throwing the ball worse now than I was then," Danks said. "At least last year I was throwing the ball decently, just not getting the wins."
Danks has an 0-3 record and 8.34 ERA at home, although he admitted postgame Monday that he hasn't pitched well at U.S. Cellular Field or on the road. But one sign of concern or possibly even a red flag is Danks' two strikeouts over his last three games, against seven walks.
There's no physical problem for Danks, who said he feels great. But when asked Tuesday about the strikeout downturn for a man who averaged 143 per season over his first five seasons, a frustrated Danks had no concrete answer.
"I've thought about it, and I don't know. I really don't," Danks said. "It's definitely something that can help. There's nothing bad that can happen with a strikeout. I don't have an answer for it. I don't have any idea.
"Getting strikeouts just means I'm throwing the ball where I'm trying to throw it. I'm making the ball do what I want it do. That hasn't been the case consistently so far."
Much like last year, Danks puts all the struggles on his shoulders but also like last year, the 27-year-old will do everything possible to turn this inconsistent start into top-of-the-rotation results. Danks might get a boost from his Saturday start at Wrigley Field, where he has a career 1.38 ERA with 14 strikeouts and no walks in 13 innings.
"He'll be fine," said White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn of Danks. "He's pressing a little bit. I'm no pitching coach by any means or a psychologist, but I know how John is and while he's struggling, he just kind of needs to be himself and have fun."