Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A step in the right direction

Seattle's Eric Thames trots around
the bases after his eight-inning
home run, the only run Liam Hendriks
allowed — and one run too many.
Regular readers of this blog know that I believe in Liam Hendriks. To be precise, I believe in his minor league numbers, and believe that, given sufficient opportunity (and health) that he can be a competent major league starter.

He's not going to be Felix Hernandez. His talent isn't at that level. But he can become something resembling a Brad Radke.

The Twins have yanked him up and down this season, and to be fair to the team's decision makers, he hasn't done well at the major league level.

Monday night he did do well — nine innings of three-hit, one-run ball, with three walks and six strikeouts. It was easily the best performance of his major league career to date.

Unfortunately for the Aussie, he was pitted against Hernandez, and Hernandez was better than he was. Which he should be, because Hernandez IS better. There aren't many as good as King Felix, and nobody who is certainly better.

One start does not vindicate Hendriks, and holding Seattle to a single tally isn't like doing the same to the Yankees or Texas. But it's something to build on. And with the minor league seasons winding down, there's no reason for him not to get the rest of the major league season to try to establish himself.

The single greatest problem of the 2012 Twins has been the starting rotation, and with an 0-7 record in 10 starts, Hendriks has been part of the problem. With his 9-3, 2.20 record in Triple A this year, he might be part of the solution too. But they're only going to find out if they let him pitch.

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