Saturday, March 6, 2010

The First Setbacks

After 2 games of pretty stellar pitching, things were bound to break down for the Twins. On the plus side:

Francisco Liriano pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing 1 single, 1 BB and a HBP with 3 K. All of the baserunners came in the first inning - chalk that up to being too keyed up for his spring debut. 2 of the 3 non-K outs were grounders. I'll take it, and look forward to seeing what he can do in his next start when he should be more relaxed out of the gate.

Nice debut for Jose Mijares today, a 1-2-3 inning with a K. Quite a contrast from last spring.

Through 3 games, the pitchers I expect to make the opening day roster have thrown 13.1 shutout IP, allowing 4 H and 5 BB with 10 K.

Now the minuses:

Joe Nathan had to leave after facing 3 batters with tightness in his pitching elbow. This is supposedly a normal side-effect of the bone chip removal surgery he had during the offseason. Having just had some soreness in my surgically repaired knee at my softball game on Thursday, I can accept this explanation. I felt better yesterday and perfect today, so we'll hope Nathan's pain also dissipates quickly. Never a good thing to hear that one of your All-Star pitchers is having elbow pain, though.

Glen Perkins, whose job this spring is essentially to raise his trade value, didn't do much on that front. He bailed Nathan out of a 2 on, 1 out jam in the 3rd, but then got touched for 2 ER on 3 H and 2 BB in the 4th. His comments after the game suggested that his shoulder still isn't quite 100%. That isn't of any use to anybody.

Jeff Manship had a 1-2-3 6th, but then got lit up in the 7th for 4 ER on 6 H, including a 3-run HR. It occurred to me that one indicator of the Twins' success in 2010 will be how few innings they need from Manship. If he's in Rochester all season, it means the big league rotation is both healthy and productive. Relying on Manship for any length of time would be a pretty big step down from the intended starters.

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