Monday, August 4, 2008

Liriano Returns

Twins 6, Indians 2

Some quick thoughts on yesterday's game before I catch up on July:

Francisco Liriano!

His debut went... OK. But even while falling behind almost everybody and walking 3, he still gets out of there with 0 R and a 1.00 WHIP for the day. Dick Bremer astutely pointed out that fans should be comparing Liriano's performance down the stretch not to what he did in 2006, but to what the Twins were getting from Livan Hernandez. Livan allowed a WHIP of 1.00 or less in only 4 of his 23 starts, and only twice in the last 21. I'd say it's an improvement so far.

Liriano looked like he was a little too geared up, which is to be expected. But I was impressed by the variation in the speed of his pitches - the fastball anywhere from 88-93, the slider from 83-86. Those little touches help keep the ball away from the fat part of the bat. I wish there were more of a difference between the average fastball (90-91) and changeup (81-82), but that's something he can work on. Very encouraging, and his next opponent (KC) shouldn't be too difficult either.

Denard Span unloaded on his second HR of the home stand. His line through 41 games: .315/.405/.462. He's scored 11 R in 12 games since being moved to the leadoff spot. Keep him there.

Looking at the box scores, you wonder why the Twins only managed 6 H/game during this series. From what I saw on Saturday and Sunday, a lot of it had to do with the Indians' defense. I counted 4 plays on Sunday that could have been hits if not for extraordinary efforts from the Cleveland defenders, including the first 2 plays of the game. I mention this just to reassure people that the Twins still seem to be swinging the bats OK, and will hopefully continue to score at the typical rate on their upcoming road trip.

Lots of road games coming up (20 of the next 29), but Seattle and KC make an excellent opportunity to have a winning trip. Get it done, fellas!

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