Thursday, June 11, 2009

Twins 6, Oakland 3 (Wednesday night)

Last West Coast night game for a while. Now the Twins face four straight day games — one today (Thursday) in Oakland, three in Wrigley against the Cubs — which will be a test of their weak-bats-in-the-daytime pattern.

Comments on Wednday's game:

* Francisco Liriano continues to pitch better than his results. He allowed just eight baserunners in six innings (five hits, two walks, one HBP); he induced 20 swings-and-misses; he struck out seven. And three of his seven runners scored, because all five hits came in two innings. There's an old cliche about scattering hits; Lirano this year seems to bunch them.

There were flaws. He threw first-pitch strikes to just 13 of 25 hitters, further evidence of his lack of fastball command. Kurt Suzuki, the Oakland catcher, swiped two bases. 

* Luis Ayala had another scoreless inning and knocked his ERA down to 3.95. Eighteen pitches, 15 of them strikes. Eighteen pitches is a lot for a one-two-three inning, but the A's fouled off nine pitches. They didn't have a swing-and-miss. 

That's the kind of thing that continues to make me uneasy about Ayala. I want to see power arms in the bullpen, and he doesn't miss bats.

* Michael Cuddyer, center fielder. I doubt that Ron Gardenhire is eager to go with that defensive formation — Delmon Young in left, Cuddyer in center, Jason Kubel in right — often, but it's not known how long Denard Span will be out of action, and if they don't put him on the DL, they don't have a true CF behind Carlos Gomez.


Draft stuff: Prominent among the Twins second-day selections was Gopher second baseman Derek McCallum.

He's got some gaudy stats, but he's an amateur second baseman, and few of them become standout big-leaguers. As a rule, if you have the mobility and throwing arm to be a second baseman in the major leagues, you were the best athlete on your amateur team, and you played shortstop. 

The Twins took a couple of college catchers in the fifth and sixth rounds (Tobias Streich of West Virginia and Chris Herrmann of Miami) and three more as they worked through the 30th round. Lots of pitchers and shortstops. Only two outfielders, and one of them, Eric Decker of the U of M, almost certainly isn't going to sign.  

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