Thursday, April 7, 2011

Nishioka, Liriano and another loss

Pretty lousy math for the Twins on Thursday:
Add one loss, subtract one second baseman.
Of more importance than the 4-3 loss this afternoon for the Twins in New York is that Tsuyoshi Nishioka suffered a fractured fibula turning a double play.

Obviously, he'll be on the DL for a while. Luke Hughes, who lost out to Matt Tolbert for the utility infielder job, is likely not only to fill Nishioka's roster spot but second base as well. That's how I'd do it, at least — stick him in the lineup and see if he'll hit enough to carry his glove.

I didn't see the play in question, but I'm inclined to give Nick Swisher the benefit of the doubt and assume it wasn't an out-of-the-baseline slide or dirty play. The Twins say it was a clean play.

Meanwhile, Francisco Liriano pitched better than he did against Toronto, but the worst aspects of his game cost him. He threw first-pitch strikes to just nine of the 24 men he faced; he walked two leadoff men, both of whom scored; and the crucial hit of the three-run fourth inning came when he got ahead of Andruw Jones 0-2 and started shaking off Joe Mauer. The old Crash Davis line applies to Liriano: Don't think; you can only hurt the ball club.

Dan Gladden described the pitch Jones hit for a double as "a big slow curve ball."'s pitch reader said it was a slider at the same velocity as most Liriano sliders (around 85 mph).  I can't say that I've ever heard of Liriano throwing a curve, so I'm inclined to think it was the slider — maybe a hanging slider.

Meanwhile, Charter and FSN came to an agreement, and the game was carried by Mankato's dominant  cable service. I'm sure Hickory Tech, which ran an ad in Thursday's Free Press touting "all the Twins games," is disappointed at losing that bit of competitive advantage.

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