Perhaps throwing a few strikes might help...
There are games where the umpire expands the zone a bit and gives a few inches on either side of the plate, resulting in a quick, crisp, generally low scoring game. Tonight wasn't one of those games, as home plate umpire Tim McClelland squeezed the zone all night, calling a total of 14 walks combined for both teams. Seven of those walks came from Twins starter Francisco Liriano, who somehow came out with a "quality start", pitching 6 innings and giving up 3 runs off 4 hits and 7 walks on the night. MLB.com's game recap called Liriano "effectively wild", but I'm inclined to call 8 runners left on base over six innings to be a bit lucky given the number of base runners Liriano allowed tonight.
The Twins offense got off to a good start in the first inning against Erik Bedard, scoring the first two runs of the game. But the Twins failed to take advantage of a bases loaded situation, as Danny Valencia and Tsuyoshi Nishioka both struck out to end the threat. The two run lead held up until the top of the fifth when Darnell McDonald (former Twins farm hand alert!) hit a two run game tying home run off Liriano. After trading runs in the sixth, Matt Capps relieved Liriano in the seventh inning, promptly loading the bases with one out. Phil Dumatrait relieved Capps with David Ortiz due up. Dumatrait did his job on the mound, getting Ortiz to ground weakly up the first base line. But Dumatrait couldn't shovel the ball cleanly for a force out at home, and the Red Sox went up for good. After that point, the Twins managed only a Joe Mauer single over three scoreless innings, and the losing streak now stands at six.
Studs and duds after the jump, enjoy tomorrow's afternoon game.
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka: 1-4, 2B, RBI. After the birth of his daughter Sena yesterday, Nishioka almost hit his first major league home run, doubling high off the scoreboard in right field.
Jose Mijares: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 SO. Finally, solid outing from Mijares. Too bad there's no chance the Twins can trade him at this point.
- Matt Capps: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB. It's not so much the base hits and runs that bother me, but the walks.
- Francisco Liriano: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 7 BB, 4 SO. Seven walks over six innings is unacceptable.
- Hitting with RISP: Combined 0-for-6 tonight, just one base hit could have been enough to win.