Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hendriks and elimination

Liam Hendriks was one of three
players in the Twins starting lineup
Tuesday making his major league
debut. The other were Joe Benson
and Chris Parmalee.
Liam Hendriks had a reasonably good start on Thursday in his major league debut — three runs allowed in seven innings.

He looked like the pitcher he's been touted as: a strike-thrower without impressive velocity. He did walk three men, which is more than desired, but his strike-to-ball ratio was roughly 2-to-1 (65 strikes, 34 balls), and, while he did give up a home run, he induced plenty of grounders.

The stereotypical Twins pitcher, in other words.

That hasn't worked well this season, because nothing has worked well this season. Pitchers who don't strike out a lot of hitters need their defense to play cleanly, and the misplay by Hendriks' fellow debutante, Joe Benson, created one of the White Sox runs. All pitchers need run support, and Hendriks got none.

The Twins have now been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, which merely makes official what's been obvious for weeks. The Tigers are pulling away from the division. Detroit in the last week has done unto Chicago and Cleveland what the Twins did last year at this time — bury them. For those of us who doubted the Indian's staying power, Detroit emerged in the first half as the class of the division, and so it has proved.

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