Monday, June 8, 2009

Oakland 4, Twins 3 (Monday night)

About 10 days ago, there was a lot of chatter about the idea of Anthony Swarzak (right) displacing Francisco Liriano or Glen Perkins in the rotation.

I doubt that was ever seriously contemplated by the people with the responsibility of making such decisions. If it was, Swarzak's performance Monday night did much to discourage such a move.

He was wild. Officially, he threw more strikes than balls — 46 strikes, 35 balls  — but that was strictly because of the generosity of home plate umpire Wally Bell.  He bounced a pitch off Aaron Cunningham's helmet. His ERA is now 5.23, and he has walked nine batters in less than 21 innings in his four starts. 

That's no way to pitch your way into the Minnesota rotation. 

* Swarzak doesn't get the loss on his record; that goes to Luis Ayala, who gave up the home run to Jack Cust that put the A's ahead. I'm still not completely sold on him, but that was the first earned run charged to him since May 18, and he's taken his ERA down from 5.71 to 4.10. He had three strikeouts in 1.3 innings Monday, 21 strikes and just eight balls. It wasn't a horrid outing, but it's an "L" anyway. 

* Carlos Gomez had a very good bases-loaded at-bat in the fourth inning — taking every pitch and walking on the 3-1 pitch to bring home the first run. He supposedly spent the winter working on taking pitches, and I wondered if he's really seeing more pitches per plate appearance this year. Nope. Entering Monday, Gomez was seeing 3.35 pitches per trip to the plate; last season it was 3.41.

Delmon Young — another Twins outfielder with notoriously poor strike zone judgment — is seeing more pitches: 3.59 last season, 3.74 this year. Not that it's helping any

*Craig Breslow — speaking of people who've lowered the ERA — had a 6.28 ERA with the Twins, 2.16 since Oakland picked him up. He pitched Monday in the eighth inning; Joe Mauer singled, Justin Morneau flew out, and then the A's brought in a right-hander to get Michael Cuddyer to ground into a DP. Seven pitches for Breslow, four of them strikes. Not real impressive, but it got the job done.

* One final note: Jack Hannahan, former Mankato Masher and Minnesota Gopher, had the big three-run double after Swarzak's wildness set things up in the fourth. 


The first two rounds of the amateur draft are to be held later tonight (I'm posting this after midnight); for a variety of reasons, personal and professional, I'm unlikely to comment on the Twins picks as soon as I have the past couple of years. I expect to get something up early Wednesday. 

1 comment:

  1. They really just hoped that Swarzak could plug a hole for a few games until Perkins could get back healthy. He did very well for a couple games. The kid may have what it will take to be a good ML pitcher, but not yet. He needs seasoning in the minor leagues. I'm sure that's not a surprise to anyone in the Twins front office, and last night's wildness is certainly no reason for anyone to write the kid off.