Sunday, September 27, 2009
F-bomb um, bombed in Kansas City. He lasted only 1.2 innings, surrendering three runs on three hits, while walking three. Once again he had trouble finding the plate, using 45 pitches to complete not-quite two innings. His day was pretty much done when he gave up a three-run homer to Yuniesky Betancourt, only the sixth homer Yuni has hit all year (seriously, he's slugging an anemic .342). I honestly don't know what, if any, future Liriano has with the organization at this point. It's so frustrating because he has good stuff, he still strikes out a lot of hitters, but he has clearly lost his control. And who knows if it will ever come back. If learning to locate pitches were such an easy thing to do, there wouldn't be any ineffective pitchers in baseball.
Zack Greinke, on the other hand, helped out his Cy Young campaign by stifling an offense that had scored 66 runs in its past ten games. He put runners on base in nearly every inning, and yet managed to pitch out of some very tight spots (the Twins went 1-14 with RISP vs. Greinke and Joakim Soria). He got Joe Mauer to strike out swinging twice, while Jason Kubel (0-4) and Michael Cuddyer (1-4) didn't have much success against him, either. His fastball averaged 94.23 mph and touched 98, his curveball about 72 mph, and he mixed in an 86 mph changeup and one very nasty slider. Too often, I think, fans want to blame the hitters when they fail to score any runs, without giving any credit to the opposing pitcher. Certainly if the offense is stymied by someone like, well, Nick Blackburn, there is reason to be upset. In this case, though, Greinke was just good.
Luckily, the White Sox beat the Tigers 8-4, so at least the Twins didn't lose any ground in the pennant race. There are a lot of good previews of the upcoming series at Comerica Park out there already, so I'm not going to write one. I will say this, however: if the Twins fail to at least win three of the four games, then they're done. A sweep would just about clinch the division. It's not impossible, the Twins are red-hot while the Tigers have been reeling, but it's pretty unlikely.
At least the Vikings game had a much more favorable outcome: