Thursday, April 3, 2008

First Home Run, but Third Loss

We've now finished the first series of the season, with the Twins losing the last three to go 1-3 against the Angels. At least they managed to score four runs in the last game, after scoring only four in the first three games. Many people would insist on not reading into anything too much, but to me, that's what blogging (and this blog in particular) are about. If I didn't make too much of things, there wouldn't be things to write about every day. With that little intro out of the way, I can proceed to micro-analyze everything that happened in the game today, the Twins third straight loss.

Justin Morneau failed to get a hit again, although he did draw a walk and hit a sac fly. Jason Kubel hit the first home run for the Twins in the 2008 season. Maybe this will make Ron Gardenhire think twice before putting Craig Monroe in the lineup. The Twins had a chance to win the game with runners on first and second against Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth inning, but Michael Cuddyer struck out to end it, capping an 0-5 night. Carlos Gomez had two hits, including another bunt single. Joe Mauer had the best night, hitting two hard doubles and also a sac fly.

The news from the game that will potentially have a lasting impact, though, is that Kevin Slowey left in the fourth inning after suffering an apparent arm injury. Later, it was reported that he'd strained his right bicep and he will undergo further testing. If Slowey is out for a little while, the Twins are suddenly digging pretty deep into that reservoir of unestablished, young pitchers who are all ready and waiting for their chance in the bigs.

In addition, Francisco Liriano did not pitch particularly well in his start at Single-A today. He went 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks, although he did strike out eight Reds. Sarasota Reds, not Cincinnati. I'm not too worried about his performance, but you can't deny that it would be much more encouraging to see him putting up good numbers in his rehab starts. At some point, even if you think that point is next season, the analysis of Liriano will have to be more than something to the tune of "at least he's not feeling any pain." For me, I think that point will come in about two months at the latest. I don't expect him to be Santana-esque, as he was in 2006, but I do expect at least #3 starter numbers by then.

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