Monday, September 27, 2010

Playing with match-ups

Francisco Liriano has allowed
0.3 home runs per nine innings
As I've alluded to a couple of times, I've been fighting a virus of late. The Monday print column — on how this year's projected Twins playoff rotation matches up better with the Yankees (and Rays) than previous versions — was cobbled together in pieces over a three-day span, Thursday-Saturday, as I had the energy to focus.

There's always a risk in that — the risk that events between the writing and the publication will make the writer appear at least a bit foolish.

So naturally, the Twins' big three of Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano and Brian Duensing, pitching Friday-Sunday, combined for three poor statistical starts:

  • Liriano allowed a home run and more fly balls than grounders; he got just nine outs.
  • Pavano surrendered three longballs (and seven runs on 11 hits) in four innings.
  • Duensing walked four men and allowed two homers, five runs.

Does this undermine my thesis? Not really.

  • Liriano's outing I discount because of his illness. 
  • Pavano's I discount because his start was pushed back eight days to set up the playoff rotation. 
  • Duensing's line would look markedly better if Danny Valencia — who had an atrocious series defensively in Detroit — had made a clean play on a likely double-play grounder; he got an out, so there was no error, but the extra out set up the first, three-run, homer off Duensing.

All three figure to get another start in the regular season; this might be particularly important for getting Pavano back into his regular routine. Certainly all three need to pitch more effectively once the calendar page is turned.

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