MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 15: Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers slides into a tag by Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins during the sixth inning on April 15, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers wore the number 42 to honor Jackie Robinson. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Liam Hendriks was more than solid this afternoon. Mike Napoli launched an impressive solo homer in the fifth, but it was one of just seven hits Hendriks allowed all afternoon. He struck out four, walking none. Today it was Glen Perkins who blew the game - he just didn't have it.
Perkins came on in the top of the eighth with the Twins leading 3-1 and walked off the mound three batters later, trailing by a run. Ian Kinsler walked, Elvis Andrus tripled, Josh Hamilton homered (with Thome-like power, by the way); that was all she wrote for Perk, and that was also your final score.
It was unfortunate, not only because Hendriks pitched so well but also because the other guy making his Twins debut, Clete Thomas, was the integral party in giving Minnesota their lead. Neftali Feliz threw him a 1-0 changeup in the fifth, and Thomas absolutely crushed it into the seats beyond cavernous right-center. The very next inning Thomas bobbled his pickup off Michael Young's ball into right, but he still made a good throw to Alexi Casilla who relayed to Joe Mauer, cutting down Adrian Beltre trying to score and ending the inning. At the time it was huge, preserving that one-run lead.
To be fair, I also think Thomas could have made the catch on Andrus' triple over his head by taking a better route.
Texas sweeping Minnesota at Target Field is a bit of a bummer, but there are culprits up and down this team for the series. Offense, defense, pitching - none of these games were complete performances, and the Twins certainly didn't play like they deserved a win this weekend. They were outscored 14-6.
Studs, duds and notes after the jump.
- Justin Morneau struck out three times while going 0-for-4, meaning he's struck out ten times this season while walking just twice. He's clearly still working on getting his timing back, but also his strike zone judgement and pitch recognition. Hopefully he gets there, but if it were me I wouldn't be playing him at first base until he started looking better at the plate on a more consistent basis.
- Teams are still challenging Josh Willingham inside, in spite of his destruction of opposing pitchers: 7 times the Rangers had the location of "middle in" on Willingham. He didn't punish anyone with a home run today, but he did get a single and a stolen base. But eventually pitchers will stop aiming for that zone.
- Liam Hendriks did a great job of staying away from left handed hitters - only three of his 20 pitches to lefties were on the inner third. Everything else was middle away or outside.
- Overall, My Inside Edge gave Hendriks an A-, A or A+ in 14 of their 23 pitcher grading sub-categories. He did a great job today of staying out of trouble, and hopefully that's something he can carry forward.
Clete Thomas (.263 WPA)
Liam Hendriks (.195 WPA)
Denard Span (.142 WPA)
Glen Perkins (-.625 WPA)
Justin Morneau (-.240 WPA)
Chris Parmelee (-.131 WPA)