Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Back to Baseball

So freakin' busy doing sound design for a play. All the theatre people involved say it's one of the most tech-heavy shows they've ever seen. I believe it. Music, surgery, planes, boxing, WWII, flashbacks - all that and more has to sound right. It's fun, but it's kept me too busy even to watch the Vikings add another chapter to their storied history of falling just short. Two points for today:

1. Francisco Liriano had another winter league start in the Dominican:

5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 0 BB, 7 K

Though he took the loss and saw his streak of not allowing an earned run snapped at 40 innings, there is nothing in this performance that discourages me in the least. Especially when you consider that 5 of the 7 H he allowed and 7 of the 8 non-K outs came on grounders. It actually improves his already phenomenal K, BB and G/F rates, and he still hasn't allowed a HR. His DWL totals are now:

43.2 IP, 31 H, 4 ER, 0 HR, 7 BB, 54 K, 0.82 ERA, 0.87 WHIP

That guy is going to be one of the better starters in the AL this year.

2. The Twins signed Jim Thome to bolster their bench. Apparently, this move is intended to place Thome in the role Brian Buscher had last year. Thome should be able to match Buscher's splendid OBP while providing significantly more power. Clearly an upgrade. While many would love to see Thome DH vs. righties, sending Jason Kubel into the field and Delmon Young onto the bench, that doesn't appear to be part of the plan - at least not at first. The Twins' just don't seem to think like that. I'll bet a significant portion of the logic that entered into this decision was the same as that which brought Craig Monroe to the team two years ago: The guy always kills us when we play against him, so let's get him to play for us!

Gardy is pretty good at riding the hot hand and changing roles once June looms, so if Young isn't producing by then, I'd expect the platoon scenario to come into being. And if anything should happen to Justin Morneau, Kubel or Michael Cuddyer, the Twins won't miss a beat in the middle of the lineup - at least not against RHP. It's a good signing that improves the team, regardless of Thome's eventual role.

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