Friday, July 24, 2009

Angels 6, Twins 3 (Friday)

Box score here

AP game story here

Progress, in an odd way: This one was simply a routine loss, not a total collapse, not an extra-inning heartbreak. John Lackey, a good pitcher, pitched well for Anaheim (I refuse to call the Angels a Los Angeles team); Francisco Liriano, still trying to reinvent himself, gave up three homers.

Liriano became the first AL pitcher to 10 losses.

Liriano wasn't completely terrible for five innings — not great, but not awful — but the first four batter of the sixth inning got hits, and the third hit was a three-run homer.

Joe Mauer (above) hit a pair of homers off Lackey, one to left, one to right, both solo shots, and is now at .365 with 17 homers. Those homers accounted for half the hits the Twins got off Lackey and all the runs. I think it's safe to say he's out of his slump.

A few notes, not necessarily germane to the outcome:

* Kevin Slowey couldn't play catch Friday, and his scheduled rehab start in Rochester isn't happening. This may be a bigger blow to the team's pennant hopes than the loss.

* Alexi Casilla went 0 for 3, dropping his batting average to .164 and his OPB to .240. The Twins got absolutely nothing offensively from the bottom third of the order — Delmon Young, Nick Punto and Casilla combined to go 0-10 with four strikeouts.

* Jesse Crain got five outs, but his command was still off — 10 balls, 16 strikes, one hit batsman. I can't regard the outing as encouraging.

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