After a massive game from the offense, the Twins will try to pick up some sort of momentum by winning two in a row. They'll have to get to Dallas Braden to make that happen, a guy whose spent four stints with the Athletics...in 2008 alone. Braden's an interesting study, a guy who can pitch efficiently or slow things down to tally some strikeouts. He struck out seven over five and two-thirds two starts ago, against the Twins, but didn't manage a single one in seven innings against the Angels in his last outing. With an 87-mph fastball, and a curve, slider and changeup (all between 74 and 78 mph), he's another Oakland specimen who may not be overpowering but is quite adept at getting outs. Over his last four starts he's thrown 26.2 innings, allowing 25 hits, three homers and 13 runs, along with 14 strikeouts and five walks.
With Kevin Slowey's great performance on Friday night, the Twins have the right guy taking the hill to make it two in a row. Francisco Liriano's been highly a highly effective pitcher since his return, if not the most efficient, but in five starts he's struck out 18 in 29.2 innings with a 1.21 ERA. Guys are putting the ball in play still, but he's getting lots of ground balls while being what's commonly dubbed "effectively wild". In 2006, opponents managed just a .306 slugging percentage versus Liriano; in 2008 that number is up to just .311. In 2006, opponents posted a .260 on-base percentage; thanks to all the additional walks throughout the season, opponents in '08 are reaching at a .341 clip. Luckily, as evidenced over his last few performances, that number is on its way down.
Another Boston win would be a great help tonight.
|2008 - Dallas Braden||4-3||16||7||0||0||0||0||56.2||57||26||26||6||19||34||4.13||1.34|
|2008 - Francisco Liriano||4-3||8||8||0||0||0||0||40.0||36||20||17||1||24||30||3.83||1.50|