Blog Entry

Opening Day (for me)

Posted on: July 21, 2008 5:04 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2008 6:59 pm
It's Monday, and the Twins are twelve games above .500 at 55-43 so far. I'm still shocked that they're in contention, but when you look at how well the pitching staff has performed, it makes sense.

I mean, when Santana and Silva were moved, the question we asked ourselves was, "How in the world are we going to compete with these bunch of drooling, barely potty-trained starters?". The funny thing is that Francisco Liriano has nothing to do with our success this season. As a matter of fact, if we would have let him rot in Triple-A for the first four months of the year, he would have never imploded and cost the team wins. Minnesota could be 57-41 right now (or even a little better...)! Just a quick glance at the stat book tells me that that the Twins pitching has been solid not only in an accumulation of stats in 2008, but over the past few weeks as well. Baker, Perkins, Slowey, Hernandez and Blackburn have a combined 3.34 ERA over their past 15 total starts. Pretty amazing stuff. Compare that with their 4.03 ERA on the year, and things have actually gotten better.

With all this in mind, we come to the entire reason why I'm writing today - Francisco Liriano. His well-documented start to the season scared the life out of Twins fans, but a resurgent past couple of weeks in Triple-A have our hearts a-twitter. And for good reason, too... the guy logged 20 scoreless innings, fanning 24 batters over that span. Then this past Monday, he went eight innings and struck out eight batters, allowing just one run. For those of you counting at home, that's a 0.32 ERA matched up with sick 10.28 K/9 and 0.174 WHIP peripherals. The question isn't if he's ready, but when.

The answer isn't easy, and it's the very thing that GM Bill Smith and the Twins front office continue to debate. Is Livan Hernandez too much of a "glue guy" to send packing? Should we move one of the other younger starters to the bullpen? It seems as if the answer is simply to wait. Wait and see if Liriano can dominate with consistency - hit his spots, throw that nasty slider with authority and continue to go deep into games. Wait and see if Livan will finally go into the tank and deem himself worthy of removal. Wait and see if Perkins, Blackburn or Slowey's wheels start to fall off. My solution: Send down Bonser (terrible in relief), bring up Liriano and move Blackburn to the bullpen. Maybe you disagree, but it seems like the move that will a) Rock the boat the least, b) Help the team the most. And that's really what we're looking for, right?

A couple of notes:

  • No one's talking about Anthony Slama, so I'm going to do it now. He's a 24-year-old closer at Fort Myers, and he's the most dominant pitcher in baseball (stats-wise/pound-for-pound). In 53 innings of relief, he's got 87 strikeouts (other-worldly 14.77 K/9) and a ridiculous 0.68 ERA. On top of that, the guy is holding opposing batters to a .168 average. I need an explanation as to why he's not been moved up. A little overdue, if you ask me.
  • Secondly, Ben Revere (remember the undersized CF that would NEVER play in the Majors, according to scouts) is hitting .400 at Low-A Beloit. Kid is mashing, raking, destroying and killing the ball. Keep your eye on him!
  • Last, Luke Hughes, who I've been in love with all year, is back from that DL stint and has gone 0-for-9 in his past two games combined. The batting average is still at .316 and his OBP is a solid .387. If not for injury, he'd be at Triple-A Rochester by now. Thanks for reading, and I'll hopefully be posting more often if more than one person reads this. Have an awesome day, and BEAT THE Yankees!!! Game time is 6:05 CST and we've got Blackburn vs. Ponson.
Thanks for reading today!
Category: MLB
Tags: Liriano, Slama

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: July 24, 2008 7:24 pm

Opening Day (for me)

I've got no problem with that - Perk has done it before, and it's possible that he thrives in that role.     

Since: Jun 22, 2007
Posted on: July 24, 2008 11:14 am

Opening Day (for me)

You've done a good job so far Jamasta, but i am going to have to agree with Hawkeyes drummer on sending Perkins to the 'pen.  The main reason is he has dont it before, none of the other guys have and it takes a different mind set then it does to start.  secondly Perkins doesnt last much past the fifth or sixth inning but hes usually very effective until about the 5th.   I think Perkins would just fit better in the 'pen and could be used as a very effective set up man along with giving us another lefty in the 'pen.  This would also make Breslow expandable. 

Overall i just think Perkins would fit well in the 'pen and would help the Twins win more games as a stop gate set up man then he would as a decent starter. 

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: July 22, 2008 12:26 am

Opening Day (for me)

You guys! Thanks so much for reading!

Thosemine - Glad you noticed my self-compliment. As for blackburn, I simply thought that the team owed him the least. He came out of nowhere to pitch well, but he's probably the most "blowup" prone of all our current starters (save for the "untouchable" Hernandez). You're right though - he pitched like garbage tonight... hopefully someone will open the door to get Liriano back up here.

HawkeyesDrummer - Not sure why you'd ship Perkins to the 'pen. He's been pretty great for the entire year.

Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: July 21, 2008 11:48 pm

Opening Day (for me)

nice compliment to  actually was pretty good assessment of the situation.  It is a tough call.  Blackburn pitched like crap tonight, but he is coming off of 8 days of rest, which is out of sequence.  The allstar break could have really screwed him up.  Hope it was just a fluke.  I really like Nick Blackburn and he has been an innings eater, until tonight.  Everyone has an off day and I'll just hope it is that.  Otherwise, we may have just found our scapegoat.  Can't wait to have Liriano back.  Not going to make the same mistake as Santana, I'm going to see him pitch live.  Not that I didn't try to see Santana, just everytime I could go(live 150 miles away) I'd get stuck with Silva or Boof.  Seen Boof at least a half dozen times, mostly went home pissed.  Long drive home after a loss.  Was at the game this year against the Tigers when Scott Baker came up lame with that groin, which upset me, but we won, so was a much happier ride home. Look forward to your assessment of other areas, such as the outfield mess and the infield mess.  Do outfield

Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: July 21, 2008 11:40 pm

Opening Day (for me)

Why would you put Perkins in the pen with a 7-2 record?  Plus Perkins and Blackburn do not have a lights out pitch.  I'd rather move Slowey to the pen, until an injury or someone falls apart. Slowey has good stuff and could easily comeback when needed.  Put Slowey as the set up guy, since the Twins won't bring up Korecky.  Of course I'd rather get rid of Livan and end all this who should-shouldn't go to the pen.  Liriano would be great as a set up guy, but would hurt his overall progression and doubt his agent would be too happy with him in the pen. 

Since: Mar 25, 2008
Posted on: July 21, 2008 7:33 pm

Opening Day (for me)

I agree....but I think Blackburn should stay starting if they decide to bring up Liriano. Perkins is more accustom to the bullpen.

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: July 21, 2008 5:16 pm

Opening Day (for me)

You're a smart young man.

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