Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Changes plus status quo equals another loss

Brian Dozier wore the old-school high socks Monday.
Brian Dozier debuted at shortstop with a 1-for-4 plate performance and solid defense. Erik Komatsu had two hits but dropped a fly ball in left field late in the game that let two runs in. (I doubt the sidelined Josh Willingham would have reached the ball to begin with, so the end result was the same, but Komatsu's skill set requires that he catch that ball.)

And Francisco Liriano had another lousy start, so the Twins lost. Again.

The new guys got the attention before and after the game, but Liriano's continued war with the strike zone matters more. Five innings, 90 pitches, 50 strikes, 40 balls ... Four earned runs in five innings, and his ERA dropped to 9.45.

And Ron Gardenhire indicated after the game that he'll keep Liriano in the rotation.

It's a puzzle. On one hand, Liriano is clearly the most talented pitcher on the staff. On the other, he appears to be the most emotionally fragile, the least capable of coping with difficulty.

Gardenhire handles Liriano, at least for public consumption, gingerly, wary of further diminishing the pitcher's waning self-belief. Even if Gardy is ready to stick Liriano in the 'pen, he's wasn't about to blurt it out to the reporters last night.

And, of course, No. 47 isn't the only starter having a lousy season. The Twins have made their easy swap-out, with Scott Diamond going tonight in place of the demoted Liam Hendriks. Liriano, Nick Blackburn, Jason Marquis — their tenure and pay scale make them more difficult to replace.

Somebody has to start these games. These guys are getting paid to do it.

1 comment:

  1. I find Liriano hard to watch. Every so often he gives you an inning like the 2nd inning where things come together and you think,"yes that is it". Then the next inning comes and it is ball one, ball two, groove a pitch. I get why he is still in the rotation, his stuff is plenty good, etc. Still at some point you would think he could master his mechanics and learn how to pitch.