I’m not terribly excited by a line like this: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K.
But when Scott Baker manages to not give up a homer after giving up seven combined in his previous two starts, the Minnesota Twins obviously see progress.
The Twins lately have looked more like … well, the Twins. The starts have been better as of late, outside of that horrendous doubleheader against the Red Sox last week. Quality starts and inconsistent offense – that’s Twins baseball, isn’t it?
Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn and Glen Perkins – the three guys considered back-end starters – have unquestionably outperformed the two co-aces – Baker and Francisco Liriano – so far this season.
Liriano is 0-4 on the season, pitching for the fifth time tonight against Tampa Bay. It’s a battle of two elements going in the wrong direction, as the defending AL champion Rays sit in last place in the AL East.
Liriano has had a puzzling season. For someone who has had Tommy John surgery, it’s easy to question his health while posting a 7.06 ERA so far this year. But he has struck out 17 in 21 2/3 innings, and when watching his starts, he looks like he has his stuff. And he’s actually been pretty good in his two home starts. Here’s the splits:
Home: 2 starts, 13 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 3.46 ERA, .229 BAA
Road: 2 starts, 8 2/3 IP, 10 H, 12 ER, 8 BB, 9 K, 12.46 ERA, .294 BAA
So maybe it is just a case of a guy lacking confidence – or focus – on the road this season. The walk numbers in those splits definitely jump out at you, along with the batting average against.
Whatever it may be, Liriano will be at home tonight and the Twins will need to see him take a few steps in the right direction.