Saturday, August 28, 2010

Late night: Twins 6, Mariners 3 (LOOGYs on my mind)

Game story here.

Box score here.

On a day when the Twins picked up a left-handed reliever with a distinguished resume (Brian Fuentes) , they also debuted another veteran Lefty One-Out GuY (LOOGY).

And Randy Flores wasn't impressive, although it wasn't all his fault, and there was some good mixed in.

The box score shows Flores faced five batters, allowing two hits and a walk while getting one out.

It went this way: Flores relieved Scott Baker in the seventh with two on and two out. He broke Ichiro Suzuki's (left-handed hitter) bat; the dribbler went for an infield single, loading the bases. I can't blame Flores for that hit. Then he got Chone Figgins (switch-hitter) to ground to shortstop. The inherited runners were stranded.

That's good. But then he opened the eighth. Russell Braynan (left-handed hitter) singled. Jose Lopez (right-handed) hit a grounder that Michael Cuddyer kicked away; two one, no out. Casey Kochman walked, loading the bases. Flores out, Matt Guerrier in, to get a foul out and a double play (photo above).

Give Flores credit for getting out of the seventh-inning jam. Note that the error worsened his eight-inning predicament, and that Ichiro's single was a scratch hit.

But: He failed to retire any of the three lefties he faced. He threw a first-pitch strike to just one of the five batters. He threw 23 pitches, just 12 for strikes. He couldn't finish off the strikeout-prone Branyan when he was ahead 0-2.

One game, but it illustrates his flaws.


Fuentes is to join the Twins today (Saturday). Glen Perkins has been optioned back to Rochester, to be recalled after the Red Wings finish their miserable season and the major league rosters expand.

Fuentes is overqualified for the LOOGY role, but he figures to be devastating in it. Lefties are hitting .132/.209/.158 against him. He's been stung by the long ball by right-handers this year, and he really wasn't as effective in his (almost) two seasons in Anaheim as he was in Colorado.

One could make a argument for him as the closer over Matt Capps. But the plan is for Fuentes and Jesse Crain to set up Capps — pushing Guerrier and Jon Rauch into sixth and seventh inning duties.

This is now a very deep bullpen — especially if Jose Mijares returns, which would turn Flores into a third (or even fourth) lefty.

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